The bold strokes and warmth of the colors of the painting’s black-informed modernist aesthetic don’t come to life in the photograph. Over the years, he collected literature, art, slave narratives, and other materials of African history, which were … It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. In the first two decades of the 20th century, New York City, like all of America, was undergoing massive transformations. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture houses one of the country’s most significant collections of African American history and the African Diaspora, including the records of LGBT notables and groups such as playwright and activist Lorraine Hansberry, author and activist James Baldwin, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, among others. Other papers include programs, news clippings, invitations, announcements, and minutes of a variety of organizations, such as the New York Urban League, New York Public Library, Young Men's Christian Association, and several black cultural and educational groups. Photojournalist Eli Reed joined the faculty in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin in January 2005 after a 30-year career that took him around the world for numerous national and international publications. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Schomburg moved to New York City in 1891, settling in Harlem and later, Brooklyn. In 1901, Andrew Carnegie tentatively agreed to donate $5.2 million (equivalent to $159,806,400 in 2019) to construct 65 branch libraries in New York City, with the requirement that the City provide the land and maintain the buildings once construction was complete. The development of this cultural center in New York has been so recent, the whole business of Negro citizenship in the North is so fluid, that the idea of a separate board of trustees was developed to meet that situation and also Mr. Schomburg desired to be still intimately associated with his library.” Those fears were eventually assuaged, and on May 14, 1926, it was official: with Resolution X-281, the office of the president of Carnegie Corporation of New York approved the purchase of the “Arthur Schomburg library collection on negro life and history” for The New York Public Library in the amount of $10,000. ISBN: 9780763680466 | Published by Candlewick Press. The Schomburg Center’s Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division collects, preserves, and makes available for research purposes rare, unique, and primary materials which document the history and culture of peoples of African descent throughout the world, with a … If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results. Schomburg served as curator of the Division from 1932 until his death in 1938. He asked his coterie of prominent friends like Langston Hughes to bring back little-known treasures from their travels. “It matters not whether he comes from the cloisters of the university or from the rank and file of the fields.”. Still, black migration did not abate. In celebration of The New York Public Library's 125th year, we are offering exclusive benefits in 2020, like a limited-edition tote, increased shop and ticket discounts, and invitations to members-only events . Handy, Langston Hughes, Charles S. Johnson, James W. Johnson, Claude McKay, J.A. In 1940, the Division was renamed the Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature, History and Prints in honor of its founder. Over the course of 20 years, he amassed a collection of over 10,000 items, including 5,000 volumes, 3,000 manuscripts, and 2,000 etchings. Though they turned him down, they helped broker conversations between Schomburg, The New York Public Library, and Carnegie Corporation of New York. Items associated with the prolific life of cultural icon Harry Belafonte will soon be available to researchers at the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In the final panel of Aaron Douglas’s series of four murals, Aspects of Negro Life (1934), a dark figure is bathed in a bull’s-eye that radiates outward, blooming from the brightest yellow gold and softening to amber. Rose recognized the crucial role of local libraries in building strong communities, a belief in harmony with other values of the Progressive Era, and was convinced that the 135th Street branch, situated as it was between the YMCA and a public school, could serve as a thriving center of black life and consciousness. Prior to joining the Schomburg Center in 2010, Muhammad was an associate professor of history at Indiana University Bloomington. Around this time, Schomburg, who had been closely entwined with the affairs of black historical and intellectual life in New York since his arrival in the city decades before, began hosting a small group of like-minded men and women, including author and educator James Weldon Johnson, at the 135th Street library to discuss black scholarship. For a more complete history of Mr. Schomburg, please view the Arturo Schomburg Research Guide. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture "Users worldwide can find, in this virtual Schomburg Center, exhibitions, books, articles, photographs, prints, audio and video streams, and selected external links for research in the history and cultures of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora." It now hosts a range of public forums and events, welcoming tens of thousands of visitors per year. History must restore what slavery took away, for it is the social damage of slavery that the present generations must repair and offset.… The American Negro must remake his past in order to make his future.”, — Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, “The Negro Digs Up His Past”. Head of the mail division at Bankers Trust by day, he spent his off hours dedicated to this enterprise, frequently corresponding with luminaries and scholars of the day like W.E.B. (Photo: The New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division), Researchers at work in the Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints at the 135th Street library in 1938. He is the former director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a Harlem-based branch of the New York Public Library system, a research facility dedicated to the history of the African diaspora. Over the course of more than 20 years, Schomburg spent a small personal fortune amassing a collection of over 10,000 items, comprised of more than 5,000 volumes, 3,000 manuscripts, 2,000 etchings, and, notably, several very early (and very rare) black-authored works. History of the Schomburg Center The Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints -- the forerunner to today's Schomburg Center -- opened in 1925 as a special collection of the 135th Street Branch library to meet the needs of a changing community. The year 1925 would prove pivotal if not momentous for the efforts by black scholars and cultural workers — as well as for Arturo Alfonso Schomburg himself — in the project of curating and educating the public in the history of African identity in the Americas. Through his involvement with the community, he met and befriended journalist and bibliophile John Edward Bruce, who came to be known as Bruce Grit, in what would grow into a most consequential friendship. In the decades since Schomburg’s death, Harlem has remained the vital cultural capital to the African diaspora and the Schomburg Center has only grown in stature as one of the nation’s leading archival institutions. This purchase — valued at just over $140,000 in today’s dollars, but in fact priceless — established the Schomburg Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints at the 135th Street Library, seeding the formation of what today is known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Young is best known as a poet, author, essayist and The image, titled “Song of the Towers,” communicates the ecstatic present, serving as a coda to the series as a whole. A passionate collector was born. To the viewer, the journey towards the soul’s fulfillment is no longer singular, but encompasses the joy of the entire race. At the time, the Harlem branch’s holdings were extremely limited, and due to their popularity, the books in the collection deteriorated rapidly. Reading the African Diaspora expands our long tradition of championing authors of African descent from across the globe and publications that celebrate Black history and culture. In a March 1926 letter to Corporation president Frederick Keppel, Wood explained that “the difficulty with having the title to library definitely in the Trustees of The New York Public Library is that it practically clamps this library down in New York City, no matter where what we may call the cultural center of Negro life shall hereafter turn to be. The Schomburg Society is made up donors who are passionate about our mission to celebrate and preserve Black history & culture. Grit became a father figure to the young Schomburg, and the two bonded over their mutual love of books, history, and learning. Founded in 1925 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the preservation, research, interpretation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diasporan, and African experiences. And even as the Schomburg Center moves into the 21st century, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg’s legacy lives on. Founded in 1925 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences, featuring diverse programming and collections spanning over 10 million items that illuminate the … Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division. So, upon his retirement from Bankers Trust, the legendary collector himself became the curator of the collection — and indeed, the world-famous library — that would one day bear his name, his position supported by a modest additional grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. As it turned out, Schomburg’s huge collection had yet to be professionally cataloged. Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Alvin Ailey are just some of the historic names that echo through the landmark Schomburg Center for Research in … This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. Also, transcriptions of 18th and 19th century historical documents pertaining to black history and culture. “Within a dozen cases there lies the story of a race,” observed a writer for the Christian Science Monitor in August 1925. His earliest acquisitions of note were the personal papers and letters of Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture and the first edition of Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), the first book of poems published by an African American poet. Filling every nook and cranny of his family home in Harlem, his collection was eventually donated to the now famous Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York. 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