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What are Primary Sources?
Primary sources are documents that were created at the time of an event.
Look for sources published, written, or spoken during an event that you are researching (ie. Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s), such as:
- diary and journal entries
- photographs and drawings
- audio or video recordings
Secondary sources are any documents that analyze an historical event or person. These will be most of your typical sources like books and articles.
Primary Sources on Library Databases
African American Experience This link opens in a new window
Use the left navigation to "Browse Topics." Once you are within your topic/time period, look again to the left. Primary sources can be found under "Reference Library." Primary sources may be in the form of Audio, Video, or Documents (such as speeches, letters, diaries, and more).
Salem History This link opens in a new window
The "Defining Documents" series are all primary sources. Some time periods that are covered in this series are: Civil Rights Movement, Civil War, Reconstruction, The Emergence of Modern America, and more. Also be sure to look at "Milestone Documents in African American History, First and Second Editions."
Gale in Context US History This link opens in a new window
Be sure to "Browse Topics" and then use the drop-down menu below to select "African American Perspectives." Once you click a specific topic, you will see a section for Primary Sources if any are available.
Links to Information on Primary Sources