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Special Collections: Black History Resources

Welcome to the Black History Resource Guide

This resource guide highlights archives and books at the University of Exeter Heritage Collections that relate to the diverse histories, experiences, stories and voices of Black people. Many of these resources may not be visible or easily identifiable via our webpages or catalogues, so we hope this guide will provide a more accessible means of exploring this material. The resources highlighted in this guide have been identified using our catalogues, but are not exhaustive. If you come across any other sources within our collections that you think should be included in this guide, we would be very pleased to hear about them.

For the purposes of this guide, the term ‘Black History’ is used to refer to the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent, though we acknowledge that there is ongoing discussion concerning terminology about ethnicity. Several of the archives and books featured in this guide are written from a white perspective and document the colonisation and oppression of Black people. These collections may contain offensive terms or terms that have changed meaning over time. In some cases these terms are included in our catalogue descriptions in order to provide information about the content and nature of the source. The inclusion of these terms does not reflect the views of the University of Exeter Heritage Collections.

To discuss our resources in more detail, please contact us at We also welcome your feedback on our approach to this resource guide, its content and the terminology used.

Further Resources

A large range of archives relating to Black British history are held by institutions such as the Black Cultural Archives and The National Archives.

The University of Exeter Library has created a LibGuide relating to Black History.

The University of Exeter Library also holds the Arab World Documentation Unit (AWDU) and the Ghana Collection, both based in the Old Library on Streatham Campus, Exeter.

Accessing the Collections

Archives and rare books held by Special Collections and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum are available to everyone. More information about accessing the collections can be found in our Visiting Heritage Collections LibGuide. Please note that there may be some restrictions on accessing and copying (including photography) material in the archives and books held by Special Collections and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum in line with current data protection and copyright legislation. Always make sure to check the access conditions on the archive catalogue and email Special Collections before your visit for more information about specific restrictions.

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University of Exeter LibGuide is licensed under CC BY 4.0