The Africa Collection has extensive holdings of books, serials, newspapers, pamphlets, government documents, society publications, and manuscript and archival materials as well as political ephemera. These materials concentrate on the period from 1870 to the present and cover history, politics, economics, colonial administration, military and police affairs, political and social movements, communism, and socialism in sub-Saharan Africa. All aspects of colonial rule and African movements during the struggle for independence are well documented as are the economic, political, and government of independent African states. Inter-African and international relations involving Africa and the world are well documented.
The library has one of the largest African newspaper collections in the United States, with more than 70 current titles and many older newspapers in print form. Documents from the colonial period (legislative debates, journals, government commission reports, early government gazettes), covering the early 1900s to the early 1960s, are a rich source for researchers. The materials are primarily in English, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian, though Spanish, Swahili, Russian, Hausa, and Afrikaans are also represented.