Skip to Main Content

Africana Studies

Double Wedding Ring Quilt

A colorful quilt with a pattern of repeated, overlapping circles hangs on a blank wall in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Double Wedding Ring Quilt, unknown African American artist, 194?, shown here as part of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts' "Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories" exhibition (image free under CC0)

A Note on Terminology, based on the work of Portland State University Library with permission

Subject Headings

The Library of Congress uses the formal subject heading African Americans to describe Americans of sub-Saharan African ancestry and the term Blacks to refer to Black individuals in countries outside of the United States. 

Afro-American is a variant of African American that may be useful for research. Other potentially relevant terms include blackblack people, and specific variants like black womenblack men, etc.


Research Keywords

In historical research, it can be helpful to know the terms used commonly to refer to American and non-American Black peoples during the time period you are researching. In early American history and into the early 20th century, many Americans used the term coloreds or colored people, which was gradually replaced by NegroNegroes, and variants, used through the late 1960s. Depending on your research topic, you may want to try searching with a variety of terms that could apply to your intended research topic and time period. 

Interlibrary Loan