African American Biographical Database

African American Biographical Database will be shut down on June 30, 2023.
While African American Biographical Database is being shut down, the content in African American Biographical Database has moved to become a component of ProQuest Black Studies. ProQuest Black Studies is available on the ProQuest platform.

With its clean interface and responsive design, the ProQuest platform delivers a modern research experience that guides users' discovery, access and management of rich, diverse content sources. Institutions interested in gaining access to ProQuest Black Studies can learn more about this database here.

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Welcome to the African American Biographical Database

The Largest Electronic Collection of Biographical Information on African Americans. 1790-1950

The African American Biographical Database is a resource of first resort when you are looking for biographical information, including photographs and illustrations, for African Americans. From the famous to the everyday person, AABD includes profiles and full-text sketches providing both biographical detail and illuminating narratives chronicling the lives of Black Americans.

Each text used in the African American Biographical Database has been fully digitized so that in addition to searching for specific biographic sketches, you essentially have direct access to a rich collection of African American reference works, many of which are rare books.

For further details about the contents and features of AABD, technical support, and subscription information, see More Information. For information on searching AABD, see Help. Sign up for a free trial today.

You can use AABD to:

  • FIND fascinating accounts of life as a slave, religious leader in the American South, reformer or business person in 19th century America
  • VERIFY names or birth records of family members for a genealogical search
  • LOCATE historic photographs or illustrations
  • DISCOVER geographic and familial links vital to genealogical research
  • EXPERIENCE the personal meaning of social transformation from slavery through emancipation, war and depression
  • EXPLORE the history of local Black elites from Baltimore to Seattle
  • COLLECT information for a book, paper, or other scholarly endeavor
  • RESEARCH the Abolitionist movement, growth of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and many other political movements and organizations