The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the premier cultural and academic entities in Harlem, which is a neighborhood with a large African-American population. As the name implies, the center provides a wealth of resources on the history of people of African origin. Having an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and multimedia content, the Schomburg Center is an official division of the New York Public Library. Click to book your Harlem Sightseeing and Apollo Theater Multimedia walking tour.
Collection and Features
The Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division forms the core of the research complex. Consisting of more than 300,000 books, this division focuses mostly on anthropology, sociology, and natural science. Thousands of newspapers, periodicals, and magazines relating to African Americans are also included in the Jean Blackwell Hutson section.
The Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division includes original documents that are linked to important black pioneers in the New World. For example, the collection includes original publications by the first black person to hold a position in the United States cabinet.
As the name suggests, the Arts and Artifacts Division presents artwork by African Americans and individuals with African heritage. Some of the artifacts in this collection are derived from the Harlem Renaissance. You’ll also find some paintings, sculptures, and carvings that have been made by artists in Africa. The work of Henry Ossawa Tanner and Jacob Lawrence is included in the Arts and Artifacts Division.
Featuring more than half a million items, the Photographs and Prints Division at the Schomburg Center presents a visual history of African Americans. This collection captures the essence of important eras, such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Migration. Consisting of multimedia content, the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division celebrates some of the most talented African-American entertainers and intellectuals in North America. The collection particularly focuses on Jazz, Blues, R&B; and other similar music genres.
The American Negro Theatre at the Schomburg Center is an intimate setting that hosts entertainment and other interesting events throughout the year. The Langston Hughes Auditorium is reserved for seminars, conferences, lectures, and other educational programs for guests of all ages.
During the Harlem Renaissance, Arthur Schomburg played a key role in the academic and social aspects of the movement. Born in Puerto Rico to an Afro-Caribbean mother and German father, he moved to the United States in search of educational and economic opportunities.
In 1925, the well-educated and eloquent Schomburg established the Division of Negro Literature, History, and Prints. This institution was eventually absorbed by a branch of the New York Public Library in Harlem, Manhattan.
Schomburg’s initial collection included more than 10,000 items, including books, printed materials, and artwork. In the early 1970s, the NYPL took over control of a collection that was initially funded and managed by Schomburg. The goal of this research center is to preserve and promote the history of individuals of African origin in the United States of America.
Visiting The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Situated along Malcolm X Boulevard, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is nested in the heart of Harlem, Manhattan, and New York City. This academic and cultural institution is located a few steps away from 135th Street on the New York City subway system. The 2 and 3 trains stop on the tracks of this underground rail hub.
Managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), several bus stops are located along 135th Street. Additionally, the Harlem River Drive provides convenient access to the Schomburg Center and most other landmarks in Harlem.
Location: 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY, 10037
Click here to visit The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture official website.