Celebrate Black History Month

February is Black History Month and what better way to acknowledge African-American history than through scholarly research? The Libraries' are fortunate enough to house rare archives of many African-American men and women that made a difference in the course of history. 

One such online exhibit,"The Unwritten History," features digital reproductions of more than sixty individual pages from scrapbooks that document African-American history from the early-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Drawn from the Alexander Gumby Collection of Negroiana, this exhibition introduces visitors to the collection's remarkable curator, Alexander Gumby, and explores how and why he set out to preserve items that he felt could provide the documentary evidence for later histories of African Americans.

In addition to being noteworthy in its own right, the Alexander Gumby Collection of Negroiana complements several other collections held by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The Hubert H. Harrison Papers, H. Lawrence Freeman Papers, and M. Moran Weston Papers are all important repositories of documents and other items related to the political, cultural, and social histories of Harlem during the twentieth century. Numerous other collections such as the Max J. and Ruth Clement Bond Papers and the Robert Minor Papers document African-American history more generally. Additional collections feature extensive examples of the use of  scrapbooks as a documentary tool in US history, including the Chester Alan Arthur Scrapbooks and the George R. Van Namee Scrapbooks.

The Libraries are also home to the papers of Amiri Baraka (formerly known as LeRoi Jones), American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays, and music criticism.