“I love the photo of the original building because it is literally the first page of the Schomburg Center story. The Landmark Building was designed by prominent architect Charles McKim—the son of an Underground Railroad station master, Rev. James McKim.

In 1849, Rev. James McKim was on the postal receiving end for Henry “Box” Brown, an innovative and determined slave from Richmond, Virginia. Addressed to Rev. McKim, Brown arrived in a small shipping box and emerged into freedom. Charles McKim’s designs include the campus of Columbia University, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the 1903 restoration of the White House. 

McKim’s 135th Street Library opened in 1905 to serve an immigrant community of Germans and European Jews. In 1920, the public school located across the street reported a 90% African-American student population.”—Christopher Moore, Curator and Special Projects Coordinator, Schomburg Center.

To learn more about Arturo Schomburg’s collection and the Center, join Christopher Moore on a guided tour on October 5, 2011