African American Collection

Donations from Robert C. Hayden in 2016 inspired the collation of books celebrating African American arts, political activities, historical movements, and significant figures. Hayden was a senior Lecturer at U MASS Boston, Northeastern University, Boston College, and Lesley University, spanning from 1978 to 2006 and is President Emeritus of the local branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), established in 2002.

The town of Oak Bluffs has a rich history as a time-honored black summer community, supporting African American arts & culture. Continuing to pique the interest of  both historians and members of the general public, some materials within this collection describe local historic sites and tours, which juxtapose the contributions of and the injustices suffered by African Americans on the island dating back to the 1700s. The bulk of the collection allows for cultural connections between the island and Black America.

The collection does not contain fiction or autobiographical titles nor is it exhaustive of the library’s existing holdings related to this special collection.

The brochures below were created in 2018 and updated in 2020 to assist patrons with browsing the collection.

A series of subject pamphlets collectively list and briefly describe more than 140 items in this evolving collection. Click on the subject title to view or download each brochure. **Books available for loan in person with a CLAMS library system card, or through inter-library loan on COMCAT (within Massachusetts) or Worldcat (within U.S.), ask your local library for assistance borrowing. 

Not sure how to discuss racism and disenfranchisement with children and youth? Or do you want to learn more about Institutional Racism and the history of racism in the United States? Look at our resource page for adults, parents, caregivers to explore curated resources.

PBS and Library of Congress collaborate to bring you access to “Black Journal” on the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. See press release and watch any of the 59 digitized episodes by searching “Black Journal,” or search for other topics in the archive.