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Michigan State University

African American Studies Research Guide: E-Books

Ebook Overview

When searching our online catalog, it is possible to modify your search results to find electronic resources. 

This web page also identifies some additional electronic book collections which you may want to explore as well.

ACLS Humanities Ebooks

ACLS Humanities E-Book is a digital collection of 2,200 full-text titles offered by the American Council of Learned Societies in collaboration with nineteen learned societies, nearly 100 contributing publishers, and librarians at the University of Michigan’s Scholarly Publishing Office. The result is an online, fully searchable collection of high-quality books in the Humanities, recommended and reviewed by scholars and featuring unlimited multi-user access and free, downloadable MARC records. HEB is available 24/7 on- and off-campus through standard web browsers.

Ebrary Academic Complete Collection

The MSU Library will be subscribing to the Ebrary Academic Complete online library for the Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 semesters.  Try it out.   If you see a title of interest, copy it and search the MSU Library Online Catalog by title for a link.

Google Ebooks

Google Books provides the largest collection of digitized books.  Unfortunately, due to copyright restrictions, many are restricted to snippets.  Also, Google Books is also populated with magazines (which can be good or bad depending on what you are looking for).

Click on the advanced search feature so you can restrict your search to full-text only and books. 


HathiTrust is a shared digital repository by an ever-growing number of libraries, including the 13 members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the University of California system. More information about HathiTrust is available at

The MSU Libraries is just starting to load titles from the Hathi Trust into our online catalog.  If there is a digitized title in the HathiTrust that matches a title in the MSU Library Union Catalog, then a record with a link to the full text page hosted by HathiTrust database will appear.

Take a look at some of the following titles, and note the Hathi  Trust and sometimes also the Google full text link within the record:

The American Negro, a study,  by S.J. Fisher.  Pittsburgh, Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. [1902]  112pp.  Online

Coping with poverty : the social contexts of neighborhood, work, and family in the African-American community / edited by Sheldon Danziger and Ann Chih Lin.  Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2000.  284pp.  Online

The right to fight : African-American Marines in World War II / by Bernard C. Nalty. Washington, D.C. : History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1995. 28pp.  Online

Note :  Don't want to limit yourself to what has been loaded into the MSU Library Union Catalog?  Go ahead and click on the HathiTrust and search away.  If you want entire documents, be sure to select Full Text.

Internet Text Archives

As of March 31, 2010, the Internet Text Archives provides access to over  two million free digital texts.  The books here are divided into several sections, including books from American libraries (the largest section with 1.2 million texts), books from Canadian libraries, Open Source books, Project Gutenberg, and Children’s Library. If you want to browse check the nav on the right for the most popular downloads of all time, the most popular downloads of this week, and Editor’s Picks.

You can do keyword searches, too. If you want to do anything beyond a simple keyword search I recommend you go straight to the advanced search page; there are so many fields available to search that it’s hard to remember them all. The advanced search is easier.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg provides access to electronic texts of many works related to African Americans. Check out the African American Writers Bookshelf  for some examples! 

For another example, see Norman Coombs, The Black Experience in America


SpringerLink provides access to Springer ebooks in addition to journal and chapter articles for the MSU community and other subscribers.  Select books and try a search with "african-americans" or another related concept.  You will probably notice that most of the results are book chapters.  Limit to books again if you wish.

Wiley Online Library

The Wiley Online Library provides access to many online books in the social sciences.  Although there is not African American Studies category, you can try a keyword search to retrieve results.  Then limit to books.   Access is limited to the MSU community and other subscribers.

Subject Guide

Erik Ponder's picture
Erik Ponder
African Studies Librarian
MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Dr. (E 224B)
East Lansing, MI 48824

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