“I always knew from that moment, from the time I found myself at home in that little segregated library in the South, all the way up until I walked up the steps of the New York City library, I always felt, in any town, if I can get to a library, I’ll be OK. It really helped me as a child, and that never left me. So I have a special place for every library, in my heart of hearts.”

– RIP Maya Angelou, a literary legend and longtime supporter of The New York Public Library, which holds her papers at its Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (where she spoke). Angelou also once discussed her love of libraries with us - take a look

I will be in conversation at the @SchomburgCenter on January 20, 2015 from 6:30 to 8:00pm with my friend @AleliaBundles, author of the definitive book on her great-great grandmother, Madam C.J. Walker, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker and whose great-grandmother, A’Lelia Walker, is featured in my book. A book-signing will follow the event which will be available online via the Schomburg’s Livestream. The event is free and reservations are going fast so, if you would like to attend, please RSVP right HERE - and see you on the 20th!

We are so incredibly honored to have our work @blackquantumfuturism theory & practice vol 1 beside so many amazing works of art literature technology ephemera in the #UnveilingVisions : Alchemy of the Black Imagination at the #Schomburg. Lots of amazing programming coming up around the exhibition and an upcoming catalogue featuring an essay written by @afrofuturistaffair creator R. Phillips | #blackquantumfuturism #afrofuturism #blackspeculative (at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library)

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We are extremely proud to participate in Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination, an exhibition afrofuturistic and black speculative material culture, art, and ephemera coming to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s Latimer Gallery on Sept. 25 thru Jan 16. @afrofuturistaffair Creator Rasheedah Phillips has an essay featured in the exhibition catalogue called “Dismantling the Master’s Clock: Black Quantum Futurism as a New Afro-Diasporic Time Consciousness”

Today is the anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination. Head to the Schomburg Center for two extraordinary events that remember him:

- At 1pm, elders including Abdullah Abdur Razzaq, Malcolm’s personal secretary, share remembrances and discuss how he has impacted their lives. 

- At 7pm, a who’s who of notable participants read from Malcolm X’s diaries, speeches, radio addresses, and letters.

Both are free, but you can call (212) 491-2040 to get on the list and ensure admission.

Photo credit: Malcolm X on university tour. Robert L. Haggins. Malcolm X Collection, Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library.

Tune in Wednesday, March 19, 2014 for: 

Between the Lines: Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche with Zadie Smith

This event is sold out but can be viewed online via LiveStream*

For more information about this event, click here.

*To use LiveStream you must login using Facebook or an email address.

[Photo Credits: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie by Ivara Esege, 2013; Zadie Smith by Dominique Nabokov, 2012]

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg: “We have been instructed to look at the Negro as idle, worthless, indolent and disloyal, but a careful examination of the West Indies and South America does not show this to be true…. There is not a single field of industrial activity in which the descendants of the African have not contributed their mite….” Arturo Alfonso Schomburg at the annual meeting of the American Negro Academy, December 1915

Join Schomburg’s Junior Scholars as they host the Black Comic Book Festival on Saturday, January 12th! A festival celebrating the rich tradition of black superheroes, the event is opened to all ages and will feature lively panel discussions, an awesome photo exhibit and the chance to meet some of your favorite black comic book writers!

Open to comic book lovers of all ages!

“As an actress, Ms. Dee was a bridge between the Harlem Renaissance and contemporary black theater. Inspired by Paul Robeson whom she met at the Schomburg’s American Negro Theater, she helped make artistry as a form of activism real and meaningful for actors as influential as Harry Belafonte and Audra McDonald." —Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Image: Ruby Dee and Sydney Poitier in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, 1959. NYPL Digital Gallery, Image ID 5013050.

Today’s Flashback Friday honors Arturo Alfonso Schomburg,  the distinguished Puerto Rican-born Black scholar and bibliophile, as well as the curator of the New York Public Library’s Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints from 1932 - 1938. It was Mr. Schomburg’s personal collection that won the 135th street Library international acclaim and in 1940, the New York Public Library renamed the collection in his honor. Today, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the premiere research libraries in the country and contains over 10,000,000 items.

For his great contributions to our cultural history and in celebration of his birthday this week, we present this portrait of Mr. Schomburg and encourage everyone to stop by the Schomburg Center, in person or online. It’s never too late to learn!
We Were There, Too: Black Gay Activism and the Fight Against AIDS

Since the epidemic first appeared in the early 1980s, Black gay men have been disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. Organizations, such as Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD), have struggled to mount prevention campaigns to respond to the soaring infection rates, particularly among young Black gay men. This panel will explore the factors impacting HIV/AIDS prevention and services for this community. This program is presented by the Ordinary People series. Ordinary People is a program series centered around black LGBTQ films, books and politics presented by In The Life Archive of the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Division.

On June 23, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared, “I Have a Dream,” to a crowd of 150,000 people—including Rosa Parks—at Cobo Hall in Detroit, in a speech that forecast his most famous speech two months later at the March on Washington.

In honor of Dr. King’s birthday, we present an image from The  Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture  Photographs and Prints Division, which is featured in their digital exhibition “Africana Age.” 

On August 30, 1983, Dr. Guion Stewart “Guy” Bluford, Jr. became the first African American in space.

Bluford, pictured, had earned his M.S. and PhD in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He flew the space shuttle, performed various experiments and aided in the launch of a $45 million weather and communications satellite for India. During this first mission with more to come, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, Bluford received a call from Ronald Reagan in which he said, “You will serve as a role model for so many others and be so inspirational.”


How To Travel While Black During Jim Crow

“Travel in America really started to flourish in the mid-20th century, as cars became more common and roads got better. But for many black Americans, traveling wasn’t as easy as picking a destination and hitting the road.

This was the era of Jim Crow and the civil rights movement, and there were potential land mines everywhere for black travelers, from hotels and businesses that would turn them away, to “sundown towns,” where being out after dark meant risking arrest, beatings or worse.

To help black Americans navigate these land mines, a postal worker named Victor Hugo Green started publishing a guide for black travelers, originally called the Negro Motorist Green Book, nicknamed the Green Book. It was published almost every year from 1936 to 1966.”

This year, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City digitized its entire collection, making the green books accessible to younger generations who have never seen them.

Photos courtesy of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library