top of page

Atlanta's Black Performing Arts Primary Resources

This guide contains collections of primary source material relating to Black performing arts in Atlanta held by archives, libraries, and museums across the city. This guide is not comprehensive and may not include every collection containing primary source material relating to Atlien performing arts.

Click on the linked collection names for more detailed collection descriptions. Not every collection has a detailed description online, and it may be necessary to contact the institution that owns a collection for more information.

Selected items related to Atlanta's performing arts from many of the institutions represented in this guide have been digitized and added to The Radical Archive of Preservation. You can use the search box at the top right of the homepage to search for these materials.

If you represent an institution that holds primary source materials related to performing arts in Alaska and would like to see them included in this guide, please contact The Radical Archive of Preservation.

The African American collections recount the beginnings of people of African descent in North America and extend through the present. These materials reflect the development of social, political, and cultural movements, literature, visual arts, dance, and sports. They document individuals, organizations, and events that celebrate the efforts of well-known public intellectuals and scholars, writers, and religious leaders. They also affirm the contributions of lesser-known, though equally important, community activists, cultural workers, and African Americans representing divergent backgrounds and perspectives.

Notable Collections: African American Cinema. Camille & James V. Hatch Billops. Ed Bullins. Pearl Cleage, Langston Hughes, Esther M. Jackson, Paul R. Jones, New Lafayette Theatre, Paul Robeson 

The Atlanta Historical Society was founded in 1926 to preserve and study Atlanta history. In 1990, after decades of collecting, researching, and publishing information about Atlanta and the surrounding area, the organization officially became Atlanta History Center. What began as a small, archival-focused historical society grew over the decades to encompass 33 acres of curated Goizueta Gardens, four historic houses, varied programming, and a range of signature and temporary exhibitions housed in the Atlanta History Museum.
Notable Collections: Atlanta Arts Alliance Records, Atlanta Ballet Records, Atlanta Music Festival Association Records

Collects records and books related to Georgia history (focuses on Georgia state agency records of permanent value). Georgia history, genealogy, conservation, and records.

Notable Collections: Advocates for the arts, Americans and the arts, Drama, Poet in schools program , Georgia Council for the Arts and Humanities - Administration - Fiscal and Project Files

The primary mission of the Spelman archives is to collect, preserve, organize, and make available for research historically significant documents and other materials which reflect the College’s origins and development as well as the activities of its constituents and affiliates. the history of the College. This interest has manifested itself in a continuing commitment to the preservation of its administrative records as well as collecting letters, photographs, audio, documents, personal papers, monographs, and other material created by Spelman College graduates, faculty, staff and affiliates. Spelman is among a growing number of historically Black colleges and universities that have an organized archival program. The placement of the Archives in the Cosby Academic Center is further evidence of the College’s commitment to document the past and other publications produced by the College.

Notable Collections: Toni Cade Bambara, Audre Lorde, Spelman Dance and Drama, Willis Lawrence James, Josephine Harreld Love. 

The Archives Research Center’s collections primarily document the African American experience through civil rights, race relations, education, literature, visual and performing arts, religion, politics, and social work. The holdings include books, manuscript collections, digital collections, and materials documenting the Atlanta University Center schools, as well as the African American and African Diasporic experience. The core of our manuscript holdings are built upon the Atlanta University Trevor Arnett Library's Negro Collection. These resources contain letters, photographs, writings, yearbooks, programs, minutes, and much more. Under the auspices of the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, the archival and manuscript holdings continue to develop and expand.

Notable Collections: Russell Atkins Collection, Eva Jessye Collection, Aku Kadogo PapersAfrican American Drama Company, 1980-1981, Countee Cullen-Harold Jackman memorial collection

Our mission is to collect and preserve unique historical materials that connect the Georgia State community, scholars and the public to the human experience. Our collections are open to faculty, staff, and students, to outside scholars and to the public.

Notable Collections: Southern Labor Archives, , Research on Women, Atlanta Civic & Neighborhood History

The Georgia Tech Archives collects and preserves unique historical materials to inspire new creations, advance knowledge, and encourage innovation in service towards the public interest.

Notable Collections: ​Fulton Bag & Cotton Mill Records, Chipman-Union Mill Records, Little River Mill Collection, Sibley Manufacturing Company Records

The Fox Theatre Archives is the archival and record collection held by the Fox Theatre and Atlanta Landmarks, Inc. The collection is currently closed to external researchers. External researchers may be granted permission to access the archives by contacting Leigh Burns with the Fox Theatre Institute.

Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History

The Archives Division collects, preserves, and makes available for research purposes rare, unique, and primary materials that document the life experiences, history, and culture of people of African descent across the Diaspora, with a concentration in local Atlanta history. It allows patrons to work directly with primary source materials. The Division's holdings include personal papers, records of organizations and institutions, photographs, prints, rare books, audio and visual resources, ephemera, and subject or thematic materials.

Notable Collections: James Neal Montgomery Collection, Neighborhood Arts Center Records, Phoenix Arts and Theater Company Records, Playbills Collection, National Black Arts Festival Records, Richard A. Long Papers

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper. Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept by us forever.

Those valuable records are preserved and are available to you, whether you want to see if they contain clues about your family’s history, need to prove a veteran’s military service, or are researching a historical topic that interests you.  

Notable Collections: Atlanta Penitentiary Files, Genealogical Records. 

bottom of page