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This book has a history of a quarter of a century. The first date of importance

 is 1904, when the author, Mr. Monroe N. Work, was

 a teacher of History at the Georgia State Industrial College in Savannah



A Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America (1928)

Compiled By Monroe Work 

Director of Records and Research 

Tuskegee Normal and Industrial institute

(Sociologist 1866-1945)


By Anselm Phelps Stokes

It is a privilege as a trustee of the Tuskegee Institute and as President of the Phelps-Stokes Fund to write a brief Introduction to the  Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America.

There are, I think, four things which every reader has a right to know before taking up a work of this character, namely, its purpose and scope, the history of the undertaking, the personality and career of the author, and the significance of the work as it appears to one interested in the history, achievements and problems of the Negro.

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this Bibliography is to furnish an accurate and comprehensive handbook of the titles and authors of valuable books, pamphlets and articles from periodicals on the Negro in Africa and America. These references also furnish sources of information on the various problems created by his presence in these two continents in close proximity to people of other races. The author has not tried to include all known printed works on the subjects named. Indeed he has eliminated more titles than he included, so that the book is a select reference bibliography on the Negro with more than 17,000 entries covering the most worthwhile publications in different languages issued before 1928.

The needs of the student of history and the other social sciences have been kept constantly in mind. With this object in view the material has been grouped under two main divisions, namely, "The Negro in Africa" and "The Negro in America," while each of these sections has been further subdivided, so that there are in all some 74 carefully classified chapters. It should therefore be possible for the student with the aid of this Bibliography to fin without difficulty the most valuable works that have been written on any subject in connection with the development or experience of the African or American Negro.

History of the Undertaking

This book [ Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America (1928)].  has a history of a quarter of a century. The first date of importance is 1904, when the author, Mr. Monroe N. Work, was  a teacher of History at the Georgia State Industrial College in Savannah. He then became deeply interested in the study of Africa and began to compile a bibliography on the subject. This work was materially helped by his purchasing several thousand cards on Africa from the Library of Congress.

A second date of significance is 1912, when Mr. Work, who had become Director of the Department of Records and Research at Tuskegee Institute, issued his first edition of the Negro Year Book. This contained a "Select Bibliography of the Negro" with 408 references. Subsequent editions have found this feature of the Year Book increased so that the latest edition--that for 1925-26--contains 2,875 classified references. These bibliographies were confined almost exclusively to the Negro in the United States. Their preparation was aided by pamphlets on the subject published by the Library of Congress, Atlanta University, and other institutions, but they soon superseded them in general use.

In 1921, the undertaking took on a broader scope through grants made by the Carnegie Corporation in aid of Mr. Work's researches. he was now able to purchase the cards of the Library of Congress on the American Negro in addition to those in Africa, and to secure the necessary clerical assistance in getting his material arranged for publication.

In 1926-27 the plan of the Bibliography took on its final form as a result of conferences held with Mr. W.A. Slade, Chief Bibliographer of the Library of Congress, Dr. C.T. Loram, Commissioner of Native Affairs of the Union of South Africa, Dr. Diedrich Westerman, Professor of African languages at the University of Berlin, and others. As a result Tuskegee Institute and the Phelps-stokes Fund made it possible for Mr. Work, after completing his studies in the most important American libraries, to visit the great collections of Europe so as to make sure that his Bibliography on the Negro in Africa was as comprehensive, as far as important works were concerned, as his bibliography on the Negro in America.

Every possible facility was placed at his disposal by such representative libraries as the British Museum, the British Colonial Office, the Royal Colonial Institute of London, the Colonial Institutes of Brussels and Hamburg, the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris, the Library of the League of Nations, and other university, public, colonial and missionary society libraries. Mr. Work was also able to get in personal touch with European authorities on Africa and on Bibliography and so insure that his book of reference should rank with other representative publications of its kind.

The Author

The author of this Bibliography, Monroe Nathan West, is himself a Negro, born of slave parentage in Iredell County, North Carolina, August 15, 1866, only eight months after the abolition of slavery was officially announced in the United States. Mr. Work secured his elementary education in the public schools of Kansas and later studied at the University of Chicago, taking the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in 1902 and of master of Arts in Sociology and Psychology in 1903.From 1903 to 1908 he was professor of Pedagogy and History at the Georgia State Industrial College, Savannah, and from 1908 to the present [1928], a period of 20 years, he has been Director of the Department of Records and Research at Tuskegee.

This department has rendered signal service in collecting statistical information regarding the Negro, and has published every few years editions of the Negro Year Book, an invaluable handbook of facts regarding the development and condition of the Negro in the United States.

In addition to being a member of several national sociological and economic associations, Mr. Work is a trustee of the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools. He has always placed his broad knowledge of the Negro and of sources of information regarding his history and present condition at the disposal of other scholars. They have in turn held him in high regard for his disinterestedness, his modesty, his capacity for hard work, his passion for facts and his ability to find them.

He gives every one the feeling that his feet are squarely planted on the ground and that he knows how to be entirely impartial and objective. His training at the University of Chicago, his effective labors in connection with the editorship of the Negro Year Book and his work at Tuskegee Institute, followed by his long investigations in America and European libraries., would seem to have provided an admirable preparation for the present undertaking. It is only fair to add that he has been greatly assisted in all his work by his wife, Mrs. Florence H. Work.

Significance of the Bibliography

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of this Bibliography to all students of the Negro and of interracial problems. During recent weeks I have personally had several examples of its need and value. A graduate student at a southern university wrote me asking information regarding books dealing with the Negro and crime. Chapter XXXIV, Section 1-3, gives the student a key to this whole difficult field. Similarly, another correspondent wished information regarding the segregation of the Negro in public places in American cities. Chapter XXXIII, Section 4, gives him all essential facts regarding the racial characteristics of the Negro, as shown both in Africa and the United States. Chapter XXXVIII, supplemented by Chapter XXVII, will make it possible for him to pursue his inquiries intelligently. Scores of questions such as those mentioned can be answered in a competent way only by the use of this work.

I believe that Mr. Work's BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE NEGRO IN AFRICA AND AMERICA will prove a valuable book of references for all university, college and public libraries, and that students of social conditions in Africa and the United States, especially those concerned with that most complicated of all social problems, the race problem, will find it absolutely indispensable. Some one was sure to undertake the task of meeting the need for this comprehensive bibliography. I, for one, am extremely glad that an American Negro, with only a trace of white blood, had the imagination to conceive of the work on broad lines, the scholarly mind to follow the best bibliographic standards in its preparation, and the persistence to carry it through effectively in spite of the enormous labor and difficulties involved. it is a monument of which any man or any race may well feel proud.

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In 1904, Monroe Nathan Work (1866-1945) came to Tuskegee to teach and to establish the Department of Records and Research, which was to accumulate and analyze statistics and records of black Americans. Publisher and compiler of the Negro yearbook, he was born in Iredell County, North Carolina. He was educated at the Chicago Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago, from which he was awarded the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and Masters of Arts in sociology and psychology in 1903.

He began his educational career as professor of pedagogy and history at the Georgia State Industrial College in 1903. Work accepted in 1908 the position of director of the department of records and research at Tuskegee Institute. This position led to the biennial publication of the Negro Yearbook, which supplied factual materials needed by schools and libraries. As part of his research, Work produced the periodic Lynching Reports that included information on all lynchings, regardless of the race of the victim. There were eleven editions of The Negro Yearbook.

Through his research in Europe and America, Monroe Work obtained important data for his compilation in 1928 of the A Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America.  This publication was the first effort of its kind. In one publication he presented the works or publications about Negroes in all parts of the world from ancient ties to 1928.

In 1928, he received the Harmon Award in Education for "scholarly research and educational publicity through periodic publication of the Negro Yearbook and the compilation of a Bibliography of the Negro." In 1942, the University of Chicago Alumni Association presented him with the Alumni Citation in recognition of his forty years of public service.

The Tuskegee Institute News Clippings File Collection is a major legacy of the eminent black sociologist, Dr Monroe Nathan Work, who was Director of the Tuskegee Institute Department of Records and Research from 1908 until his retirement in 1938, but who continued in the Department until his death in 1945. 

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Hines, Linda Elizabeth Ott. "A Black Sociologist in a Time of Trouble: Monroe Nathan Work, 1866-1945." Master's thesis, Auburn University, 1972.

Moses, Sibyl E. "The Influence of Philanthropic Agencies on the Development of Monroe Nathan Work's Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America," Libraries & Culture 31 (Spring 1996): 326-41.

McMurry, Linda O. Recorder of the Black Experience: A Biography of Monroe Nathan Work. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1985.

Monroe. N. Work. "Catholic Negro Work." The Negro Yearbook, an Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1921-1922. The Negro Year Book Publishing Company: Tuskegee Institute, 1922.

Monroe. N. Work. "The Life of Charles B. Ray." Journal of Negro History IV (October 1919), pp. 361-371.

Monroe N. Work. Population: Population Each Census Year, 1790-1910 (white, Negro and all others). The Negro Yearbook, an Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1921-1922. The Negro Year Book Publishing Company: Tuskegee Institute, 1922.

posted 9 November 2007

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Ancient African Nations

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Related files: Introduction: Bibliography of the Negro  Table of Contents:  Bibliography of the Negro  Preface: Bibliography of the Negro