Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City

Show Map

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a research library and archive for information on people of African descent worldwide. Located in the Harlem section of Manhattan, it is a part of the New York Public Library and is open to both scholars and other visitors.

The Center is located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard. It contains art, manuscripts, films, books and photographs. As of early 2010, the institution received 120,000 visitors a year. In addition to research services, the center hosts readings, theater and other types of performances.

In April 2010, Howard Dodson, the director since 1984, announced he would retire in early 2011. According to Dodson, Schomburg wanted to demonstrate through the collection that black people had a rich history and culture.<ref name=hdnyt/> In 1940 the collection was renamed in Schomburg's honor, and it continued growing afterward. In 1972 the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture was designated as one of New York Public Library's official research libraries.<ref name=webhist/>

In 1984, Dodson became the director. During his time as head of the institution, as of 2010, the Schomburg's collection grew from 5 million to 10 million items, and the center acquired the collections of Herskovits, John Henrick Clarke, Hansberry, Malcolm X and Nat King Cole. A scholars-in-residence program started at the center in 1986. In 2000, the Schomburg Center held an exhibition titled "Lest We Forget: The Triumph Over Slavery", which later went on tour around the world for more than a decade under the sponsorship of Unesco's Slave Route Project. The center held an exhibition of letters, photographs and other material related to Malcolm X in 2005. In 2007, the building was renovated and expanded in an $11 million project. From 1984 to 2010, attendance grew threefold, to 120,000 visitors a year. Dodson said that when he first became the director, the Schomburg Center was known mostly to scholars but had become more of a cultural center visited by tourists, schoolchildren and others.<ref name=hdnyt/>

For eight years in the 2001-2010 decade, the center operated a 25-week "Junior Scholars" program for 11- to 17-year-olds in which they learned about black culture and history and met accomplished people. The program ended due to lack of funds.<ref name=hdnyt/>

External links