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Amistad's mission was derived directly from the ardently anti-caste American Missionary Association. As such, collection efforts have traditionally focused on civil rights and race relations, along with the cultural and social contributions of underrepresented peoples, including African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, Jewish Americans, and Appalachian whites. Amistad, through collecting practice, considers the gay liberation movement as an important experience to document as a civil rights movement, therefore LGBTQ materials are sought for collection. 

Amistad's acquisitions are governed by its collection development policy; which can be downloaded for future reference.

"Death of Capt. Ferrer, the Captain of hte Amistad, July, 1839."

Because many of these documents and sources are unique and require special care, it is important that you become familiar with our Policies and Guidelines for Use of Materials, which provide tips on how to handle books and archival material.

Amistad makes available to researchers primary and secondary sources, including personal and family papers, organization records, books and periodicals, sound recordings and moving images, photographs, and artwork that document the rich history of ethnic and cultural communities in the United States, as well as the work of social justice movements.

For additional detail on researching at Amistad, click on the title or image above

CLICK HERE: For information on conducting research at the Amistad, productions, and permissions.

Amistad’s library collections include 30,000 books and pamphlets from as early as the 18th century and over 2,000 periodicals, including newspapers, scholarly journals, literary magazines, organizational newsletters, and general magazines.

Over 800 manuscript and archival collections house 15 million+ historical documents from the 1790s to the present and over 250,000 photographs dating from 1860 to the present.


Click photo or title for additional detail on Amistad's Manuscripts & Library holdings


Amistad has embraced digital initiatives in order to enhance access to our collections and to better serve our global constituency of researchers, students, and patrons. Digital collections are increasingly important for those who cannot visit Amistad’s reading room and are also important for K-12 teachers in order to facilitate the teaching of primary documents through online access.

Digital collections created and maintained by the staff, student interns, and volunteers of Amistad exist through the Louisiana Digital Library, a state-wide digital consortium to showcase the holdings of Louisiana’s cultural heritage institutions. Digital collections created by Amistad can be found here.

Image from the NOLA Hiphop Bounce Archive

Click photo or title to view the latest in Amistad's Digital Collections and Projects

Access AMISTAD archives
AMA Author & Added Entry Catalog

Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual material are encouraged to contact the Reference Department for further information and to determine relevant materials. Contact the department at (504) 862-3222 or for more information. Playback of original items is limited, so please allow time for the creation of a digital access copy of your item if one has not already been created. Click here to view Amistad's policy and procedures for viewing film prints on-site. 


Audiovisual collections at Amistad are made up of more than 8,000 individual moving image and sound recordings. Collections include oral history interviews, concert recordings, documentary films, television programs, home movies, and other material.


A clip from American Reckoning, an upcoming production by 371 Productions utilizing Amistad's Audiovisual Collections.

The archival footage in this clip from American Reckoning is drawn from the Ed Pincus collection and depicts images of the funeral of Wharlest Jackson and his swearing in as a member of the Deacons for Defense and Justice. Jackson, the NAACP treasurer in Natchez, Mississippi, was murdered in a car bombing in 1967 as he left work, shortly after accepting a promotion at the Armstrong Tire and Rubber Plant. Pincus was on hand in Natchez to document community reaction to the death.

Amistad's Audiovisual Collections Featured in American Reckoning

American Reckoning, produced by 371 Productions, is a documentary-in-progress about the Wharlest Jackson cold case and the effort to reopen this case and other race-based murders through the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act. This footage was digitized in collaboration with 371 Productions.

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