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Special Collections at Seton Hall University

African American Studies Archival Collections

The Center collects materials that document the history and experience of Africans and African Americans in the United States, particularly in New Jersey and/or in the Catholic Church. The following is a partial list of archival collections in this area, and will be added to as more collections are processed. Clicking on the title of the collection will take you to the finding aid for this collection; unless otherwise indicated, materials in these collections are not digitally available.


  • Archdiocese of Newark Parish records, 1856-2012, ADN 0010.005
    The Archdiocese of Newark has 221 parishes. The Archdiocese of Newark Parish records include correspondence, parish histories, parish reports, brochures, and other materials documenting the activities of the parishes and their parishioners. Parishes that have closed have also sent their sacramental records to the Archives. For more information on sacramental records, please see our homepage. Types of records vary across parishes, and there is material from parishes outside the Archdiocese, as well.
    Approximately 100 linear feet.
  • Center for African American Studies of Seton Hall University records, 1970-1990, SHU 0019
    The Center for African American Studies at Seton Hall University was founded as the Black Studies Center in 1970, and is now the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Center for African American Studies of Seton Hall University records contains materials documenting the operation of the Center from 1970 until the late 1980s, including budgets, memorandums, course offerings and lists, supply lists, meeting minutes, a variety of forms for operating in the University, newsletters, notices from other departments in the University, and other materials.
  • Collection on the Cause for Pierre Touissaint, 1991-2000
    Pierre Toussaint was born into slavery in 1766 in what is now Haiti and moved with his family and master to New York where he lived until his death in 1853. The Pierre Toussaint Guild was created to advocate his induction into sainthood. The Collection on the Cause for Pierre Toussaint primarily consists of newspaper clippings describing the life and cause for sainthood of Pierre Toussaint, as well as photographs, correspondence, and mass cards related to Pierre Toussaint.
    0.25 linear feet.
  • Handbill from the Newark Vietnam Work-In Committee, circa 1967, MSS 0113
    This single-item collection consists of a handbill from the Newark Vietnam Work-In Committee. It is addressed “Dear Friend” and opens with a description of the challenges facing the activists in the Black Liberation movement in Newark. It also contains warnings against potential riots as well as attempts to pit white workers against black workers.
    1 item
  • Joseph A. Francis papers, 1934-1997, ADN 0003.011
    Joseph Francis was ordained as a priest in 1950 and became the fourth African American Roman Catholic bishop in the country, and the first ordained in the Northeast. Bishop Francis was a pioneering figure in the discussion of race and religion. The materials in this collection span the years between 1934 and 1997, and includes much of Bishop Francis' own writings for his speeches and sermons.
    4.0 linear feet.
  • Thomas and Margaret Melady papers, 1959-2010 (bulk 1960-1975), Mss 0072
    Ambassador Thomas P. and Dr. Margaret B. Melady have been involved in diplomatic and international affairs since the 1950s, particularly on the continent of Africa. Ambassador Melady has held multiple diplomatic posts for the United States, including Ambassador to Burundi, Ambassador to Uganda, and Ambassador to the Holy See, and the couple have written multiple books on politics in Africa, including Ten African Heroes: The Sweep of Independence in Black Africa. The Thomas and Margaret Melady papers primarily consist of correspondence related to African political leaders and movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Some materials are in French and Spanish.
    2.5 linear feet, approximately 400 items.
  • Donald M. Payne papers, 1988-2012, Mss 0078
    Donald M. Payne, 1934-2012, was New Jersey’s first African American congressional representative and served as New Jersey’s 10th district representative from 1989-2012. During his time in Congress, Congressman Payne served on a number of important committees and was a leading advocate for education, democracy, and human rights. The Donald M. Payne papers contain the professional papers of Donald M. Payne from his time as U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 10th congressional district. The collection includes materials related to Congressman Payne’s legislative work, particularly for the House Committee on Education and Labor and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as on behalf of his district and state.
    Approximately 53 linear feet.