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African American Scholarly Essays

Welcome to the Fordham Libraries research guide on African-American studies. This guide highlights selected resources in the subject area of African-American studies.  For additional assistance, please contact a Reference Librarian.

When searching a database or the library catalog, use the following recommended keywords or subject words for African-American studies material:

"African-American" OR  "Afro-American" OR "Black" OR "Negro"

Different indexing words were used during different time periods, so the best search term depends on the publication date of the material.

To locate items from a variety of dates, string all of the various search term together like this:

(African-American OR Afro-American OR Black OR Negro)

Books on African American history are usually assigned the Library of Congress Call number E185. 

Search theFordham Library Catalogfor books, ebooks, periodicals, government documents, videos, maps and other documents held within all the campuses of the Fordham University.

To search for articles, click on the Articles tab of this Research Guide.  Listed there are recommended databases and journals.

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Inspired By The Book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
at Richard Rodgers Theatre
A new musical about the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America: Alexander Hamilton. From bastard orphan to Washington's right hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country's first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy, Hamilton is an exploration of a political mastermind.
(from 13 Jul 2015 - Booking to 04 Mar 2018)

by John Guare
at Barrymore Theatre
Inspired by a true story, the play follows the trail of a young black con man, Paul, who insinuates himself into the lives of a wealthy New York couple, Ouisa and Flan Kittredge, saying he knows their son at college. Claiming he's the son of actor Sidney Poitier, Paul tells them he has just been mugged and all his money is gone. Captivated by Paul's intelligence (and the possibility of appearing in his father's new movie), the Kittredges invite him to stay overnight. After finding him in bed with a hustler, their picture of Paul changes, and Ouisa and Flan turn detective trying to piece together the connections that gave him access to their lives. Meanwhile, Paul's cons unexpectedly lead him into darker territory as his lies begin to catch up with him.
(from 05 Apr 2017 - Closing on 16 Jul 2017)


by Lynn Nottage
at Studio 54
Sweat tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on the line of a factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in the hard fight to stay afloat. The play explores the collision of race, class, family and friendship, and the tragic, unintended costs of community without opportunity.
(from 04 Mar 2017 - Closing on 17 Sep 2017)

by Kirsten Childs
at Encores! Off-Center
at New York City Center (Mainstage)

Kirsten Childs' autobiographical show The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin follows a young woman from Los Angeles as she finds her way from dutiful suburban daughter to Broadway dancer, all while navigating the politics of race and gender on a journey to find her own identity.
(from 26 Jul 2017 - Closing on 27 Jul 2017)

by Dorothy Marcic
at St. Luke's Theatre
After a matriarch's death, the women in the family clean Grandma's attic and find love and old memories packed away, and in the process, hit tunes that trace the history of black women, from the trials of the 1930s through the Girl Groups of the 60s to the empowerment of the 90s. Songs include 'Oh, Happy Day,' 'Mama Said,' 'I Will Survive,' 'Tyrone,' 'I am Not My Hair' and 'A Woman's Worth.'
(from 29 Sep 2011 - Booking to 03 Sep 2017)

by Layon Gray
at St. Luke's Theatre
A story told in narrative of six men embarking on a journey to become pilots in the United States Army Air Forces. The play explores their collective struggle with Jim Crow; challenging their intelligence, patriotism, brotherhood, and dreams of an inclusive and fair society.
(from 05 Jan 2010 - Booking to 31 May 2017)

by Philip Dawkins
at MCC Theater
at Lucille Lortel Theatre

When Mama Darleena Andrews-- a 67-year-old, black, transgender woman -- takes it upon herself to teach an etiquette class at Chicago's LGBTQ community center, the idealistic teachings of Emily Post clash with the very real life challenges of identity, poverty and prejudice faced by her students. Inspired by the true story of Miss Gloria Allen and her work at Chicago's Center on Halsted,ÿCharm asks - how do we lift each other up when the world wants to tear usdown?
(from 31 Aug 2017 - Closing on 08 Oct 2017)

by William Shakespeare
at The Public's Anspacher Theater
Oscar Isaac returns to The Public in this electrifyingly intimate new production of Shakespeare's eternal drama. Isaac is the prince caught between thought and action, anger and anguish as his uncle assumes the throne left vacant by his murdered father. As the dead king calls to him from the grave, demanding to be avenged, Hamlet is forced to choose between bearing the oppressor's wrong or taking arms against a sea of troubles. The play is widely considered theater's most powerful tragedy about life and death, madness and conscience, and corruption of the state and of the soul.
(from 20 Jun 2017 - Closing on 03 Sep 2017)

by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Dark Comedy
at The Irene Diamond Stage
at The Pershing Square Signature Center

Angel Cruz is a 30-year-old bicycle messenger awaiting trial for the death of the leader of a religious cult. Inside Rikers Island, a terrified Angel is befriended by a charismatic serial killer named Lucius Jenkins. Lucius has found God and been born again, and now, Angel's life and the course of his trial will be changed forever. Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train is a darkly comic meditation on redemption and faith.
(from 03 Oct 2017 - Closing on 12 Nov 2017)

by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Dark Comedy
at The Irene Diamond Stage
at The Pershing Square Signature Center

After the death of the beloved Sister Rose, a group of her former students return to their Harlem neighborhood to pay respects. But at the Funeral Home, there's a problem - her dead body has been stolen. An irreverently brash and insightful dark comedy, Our Lady of 121st Street paints a vivid comic portrait of what happens when old friends meet old wounds and how old habits die hard.
(from 01 May 2018 - Closing on 10 Jun 2018)

by Dominique Morisseau
at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre
at The Pershing Square Signature Center

In 1949, Detroit's Blackbottom neighborhood is gentrifying. Blue, a troubled trumpeter and the owner of Paradise Club, is torn between remaining in Blackbottom with his loyal lover Pumpkin and leaving behind a traumatic past. But when the arrival of a mysterious woman stirs up tensions, the fate of Paradise Club hangs in the balance.ÿParadise Blue is a thrilling and timely look at the changes a community endures to find its resilience.
(from 22 Aug 2017 - Closing on 03 Jun 2018)

by Dominique Morisseau
at Lincoln Center / Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater
Nya Joseph is a dedicated, inner-city public high school teacher who is committed to her students' achievement, while she sends her only son, Omari, to a private boarding school. When Omari is involved in a controversial incident which threatens him with expulsion from his school, Nya is forced to reconcile Omari's rage and her own parental decisions, as she rallies to save her son.
(from 15 Jun 2017 - Closing on 27 Aug 2017)


by Suzan-Lori Parks
at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre
at The Pershing Square Signature Center

In Fucking A, Hester Smith, the revered and reviled local abortionist, hatches a plan to buy her jailed son's freedom and nothing will deter Hester from her quest. In this wild-eyed blend of story and song, Hester's branded letter A becomes a provocative emblem of vengeance, violence, and sacrifice.
(from 22 Aug 2017 - Closing on 01 Oct 2017)

by Jocelyn Bioh
at MCC Theater
at Lucille Lortel Theatre

Paulina, the reigning Queen Bee at Ghana's most exclusive boarding school, has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant.ÿBut theÿmid-year arrival of Ericka, a new student with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter and Paulina's hive-minded friends. Thisÿbuoyant and biting comedy explores the universalÿsimilarities (andÿglaring differences) facing teenage girls across the globe.
(from 02 Nov 2017 - Closing on 10 Dec 2017)

by Jir‚h Breon Holder
at Black Box Theatre
at Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre

Too Heavy For Your Pocket takes us back to Nashville in the summer of 1961. The Freedom Riders are embarking on a courageous journey into the Deep South. When 20-year-old Bowzie Brandon gives up a life-changing college scholarship to join the movement, he'll have to convince his loved ones and himself that shaping his country's future might be worth jeopardizing his own.
(from Expected 2017/2018 - Closing on )

by Suzan-Lori Parks
at The Irene Diamond Stage
at The Pershing Square Signature Center

Traveling from her home in southern Africa for what she hoped would be a better life, Saartjie Baartman became an unfortunate star on the 19th Century London freak show circuit. This Obie Award-winning play gives vibrant life to the story of Baartman's journey to London, her rise to fame as the 'Hottentot Venus,' and her eventual relationship with a French scientist. Inspired by the true story of Baartman, Venus is a tragic-carnival, an intense and devastating journey honoring the life of Baartman and examining the way we live and love today.
(from 25 Apr 2017 - Closing on 04 Jun 2017)

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