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African American History Resources

Books available at the McLean County Museum of History Library

Beier, Lucinda McCray
A Matter of Life and Death: health, illness and medicine in McLean County, 1830-1995. [Bloomington, IL]: McLean County Historical Society, 1996

Bloomingon-Normal Black History Project
We The People Tell Our Story. comp. and ed. Mildred Pratt. Bloomington, IL: Bloomington-Normal Black History Project, 1987.

Cabek, Melanie, Mark D. Groover and Scott J. Wagers
Health Care and the Wayman A.M.E. Church: historical archeology. Tucson, AZ: Society for Historical Archeology, 1995.

Ekberg, Carl, Anne Malone, and William Walters
The Legacy: a survey of the historical architecture of Normal Normal, IL: Town of Normal, 1990

Ives, Elizabeth Stevenson, and Hildegarde Dolson.
My Brother Adlai. New York: Morrow, 1956. Note: She mentions employees including some represented in the oral histories.

Jelks, Edward B., and John W. Muirhead.
The William Carey Barton Family: a study in historical archeology. Bloomington, IL: Bloomington-Normal Black History Project and McLean County Historical Society, 1996.

Kinneman, John.
A Report: survey of the Twin-City Recreation Center, Bloomington-Normal, Ill. [Bloomington,IL]: Central Illinois Committee on Community Development, 1957.

McLean County Genealogical Society.
African-American Residents of Bloomington-Normal, IL, 1885-1917. Normal,IL: McLean County Genealogical Society, 2002.

Muirhead, John W.
A History of African-Americans in McLean County (Ill.) Bloomington, IL: Bloomington-Normal Black History Project and McLean County Historical Society, 1998.

Orser, Charles E., and David W. Babson.
Families and Cabins: archeological and historical investigations at Wessyngton Plantation, Robertson County, Tennessee. Normal, IL: Midwestern Archeological Research Center, Illinois State University, 1994.

Richardson, Harriet Fyffe.
Quaker Pioneers. Milwaukee, WI: Press of Gillett & Co., 1940. Note: Includes information on the Duff family.

Turner, Glennette Tilley.
The Underground Railroad in Illinois. Glen Ellyn, IL: Newman Educational Publishing, 2001.

Wagers, Scott J.
McLean County Blacks in the Civil War. [S.l.:s.n.], 1993.

Washington, Caribel and Scott J. Wagers.
Wayman A.M.E. Church: one hundred fifty years of history, 1843-1993. Bloomington, IL: [Wayman A.M.E. Church], 1993.

Williams, Rick.
African-American Churches in Bloomington-Normal: the development of Black Baptist, Methodists and Disciples in the 19th and early 20th centuries. [History Department Honors hesis] [Normal, IL.: Illinois State University, History Department], 1991.

Books in Other Area Libraries

BPL–Bloomington Public Library

HCC–Heartland Community College Library

ISU–Illinois State University, Milner Library

IWU–Illinois Wesleyan University, Ames Library

ISU Harrison, Edgar Agustus. The Financial Status and Occupational Opportunities for Negroes in Bloomington-Normal[MS Thesis]. Normal, IL: Illinois State Normal University, 1950. Studies in Education (Normal, IL); no.128.
ISU Phelps, Landra G.. From Negro to Black to African-American: name changes and their effect on Black residents in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois [MS Thesis]. Normal, IL: Illinois State University, 1999.
HCCISUIWU Pirtle, Carol. Escape Betwixt Two Suns: a true tale of the underground railroad in Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois Univerity Press, 2000.
  Pratt, Mildred A Tribute to Love. Bloomington, IL: Heartland Publishing, 2002.
BPL Wells, Wyatt. The background of the Negro in McLean County [Archival material], 1940
BPL Williams, Rick D.. Black Disciples in McLean County, Illinois: a history of the Second Christian Church, Normal and the Third Christian Church, Bloomington. Normal, IL: Illinois State University, 1990.

Archival Materials

These materials are available for in house use only. Much of this collection is unprocessed so be sure to ask the Librarian for assistance.Information about African-American history and families in McLean County is located in the Archives under the following box and/or folder names. Also check the Archives card catalog and the photo index for additional resources. If present, links take you to finding aids that are available on our website.

Note: If you are making a special trip to use these materials please call first to be sure someone will be available to assist you. Phone: 309-827-0428, ask for the Library.

  • Barton House Archaeology and Family History Collection
  • Booker T. Washington Home
  • Duff Family (7 boxes) 
  • Major Collection of Letters from Liberia Photograph Collection
  • BNBHP Photograph Collection — Subjects — BNBHP Whittaker Collection
  • Black History (Not BHP) 
  • BHP Papers
  • BNBHP

Additonal Websites about African American History

eBlackCU-A collaborative portal on African-American history

Illinois Alive! - African American Experience

The Hartford Black History Project

African American Perspectives

Afro-American History

African-American History - Slavery in America