Bibliography on Africa

Getting Started

An introductory selection for adults:
on a variety of topics and in a variety of formats

Africa. eds, P. Martin & P. O’Meara ( the best overview on all major topics including geography, history, society, the arts, economics, intern’l relations)

Through Africa Eyes, ed., Leon Clark (I recommend v. 1 only) (the best collection of primary sources for grades 7-12 & community colleges; comes w/ a fine teaching guide)

Africans and Their History, Joseph Harris (probably the most readable introduction to African history, though a bit dated in one or two places)

Sundiata: an epic of old Mali, D.T. Niane (or the version for younger readers by D. Wisniewski) (the epic of ancient Mali’s founding king. Handed down orally until the 1960’s the story conveys the majesty of an African king and the power of oral literature)

Things Fall Apart, C. Achebe (The most famous novel of a small-scale society before colonial rule and the changes colonialism caused)

African Civilizations: pre-colonial cities and states in tropical Africa, G. Connah (the best scholarly overview of African kingdoms and city-states)

Ibn Battuta in Black Africa, S. Hamdun and N. King (translation with an introduction of this famous Muslim traveler’s writings on Africa)

Africa, ed. G. Ramsey (publ: Dushkin). Published biannually. (The best compendium of data on all African countries, plus recent pertinent articles from the world press)

“Africa” video series by Basil Davidson (The NYTimes described it accurately as a “stunning piece of work” that follows the major topics in African history)

“Family Across the Sea” video (The uplifting story of the cultural and historical connection between African-Americans and Africans as seen through the Gullah-Sierra Leonean link)


a fine multifaceted resource for teaching on Africa: materials for sale, teaching tips, lesson plans, interactive activity “Africa true or false? Come discover!”, list of videos for borrowing, information on using the lending library

a fine portal to news from African newspapers by country or by topic

the best site for reviews of children’s & young adult books on Africa; also includes the list of award-winning books on Africa with reviews

a fine set of 8 middle school lesson plans on African history and geography

one of the best portals to all kinds of websites and information on Africa

A very short list on African/African-American links:

Africanisms in American Culture (a fine introduction to this topic. Each chapter covers different aspect, such as religion, language, literature)

“A Son of Africa: the slave narrative of Olaudah Equiano” (video) (a beautifully executed re-creation of Equiano’s life, interspersed with brief commentaries from historians)

American Folktales in the New World, W. Bascom


Barbara B. Brown, Ph.d.
Africa in Our Schools & Community Program
Boston University

Prepared 11/03