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African-American Perspectives

What Are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred - or well after events in the case of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include:

  • letters, journals, memoirs and diaries
  • manuscripts, speeches, handbills and interviews
  • photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or videos
  • research data, objects or artifacts

These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past. (Learn more: Guide to Using Primary Sources on the Web).

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