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Africa and the African Diaspora


The history and culture of Africans and African descendants around the world.

Schomburg Treasures: The StoryCorps Black LGBTQ Archive

The StoryCorps Black LGBTQ Archive is now available at the Schomburg Center.Read More ›

Schomburg Treasures: The Menu Collection

The Schomburg Center's menu collection is now available in the NYPL's Digital Collections.Read More ›

Remembering the Women of Slavery

The Director of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture shares her keynote address to the UN General Assembly on Women and Slavery.Read More ›

Schomburg Treasures: The Green Book

The full text of the Schomburg Center's collection of The Green Book is now available on NYPL's Digital Collections site.Read More ›

A Decade for People of African Descent

On December 9, ambassadors, UN dignitaries, students, and others, gathered in the Langston Hughes atrium for a pre-event to Human Rights Day and to the official takeoff of the International Decade for People of African Descent, both happening the following day. Read More ›

Schomburg Treasures: WPA Artwork

The Schomburg Center's collection of WPA artwork is now available on the NYPL's Digital Collections site.Read More ›

Song and Dance: The Power Of Black Music

American music is largely influenced by African American music, so concluded eminent musicologists just before the 20th century.Read More ›

Africans in India: Then and Now

The Schomburg Center's exhibition Africans in India: A Rediscovery recently opened in New Delhi, India's capital, against a backdrop of racist attacks against Africans. The contrast between the African experience of yesterday and that of today could not have been greater and the exhibition could not have come at a more appropriate time.Read More ›

Célébrons le mois de l'histoire des noirs

En commémoration du mois de l’histoire des noirs on vous propose ces titres dont vous trouvez dans le catalogue de NYPL. Réservez-les et cherchez-les à votre bibliothèque de quartier la plus proche.Read More ›

Dr. Cheryl LaRoche Presents "Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: The Geography of Resistance" at Columbus Library

“When you think about the Underground Railroad, it is a land based operation, moving from one section of the country (where slavery exists) to another where it doesn’t take place—You must negotiate the land to get your freedom. We haven’t focused in on the land itself in the exploration of the Underground Railroad. When you start to read the land you come up with some different conclusions." Hear more from the author on Tuesday, February 11 at 4 p.m. Read More ›

12 Years a Slave. What About 15 Years in a Cave?

We’ll know in one month if Steve McQueen’s film gets an Oscar. But one thing is sure: the heretofore largely unfamiliar Solomon Northup has become a household name.Read More ›

My Mandela Moments

I learned of Nelson Mandela’s passing while waiting for my delayed flight at Atlanta Airport. I thought how much his painful and extraordinary life had exposed the terrible danger that faced those who fought for the rights, the dignity and the freedom of people of African origin or descent. That despairing reality was made all the more vivid because I was coming back to New York after several days spent with Kathleen Cleaver, immersed in documents and photographs from the Black 

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The Americas' First Muslims

This week, 1.5 billion Muslims will celebrate Eid-al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, or Tabaski as it is known in West Africa. Very few among them will have a thought for the hundreds of thousands of enslaved West Africans who, during almost four centuries, practiced Islam in the Americas. Although they left significant marks of their faith, cultures, and traditions, the Africans who first brought Islam to these shores have been mostly forgotten.Read More ›

Música Soul: The Soundtrack of the Black Power Movement in Brazil

"If we had said 'Negro power' nobody would get scared. Everybody would support it. If we said power for colored people, everybody would be for that, but it is the word 'black' that bothers people in this country, and that's their problem, not mine." —Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) at UC Berkeley, 1966

Stokely Carmichael by Lynn B. PadweBlack Rio Scene by Almir VeigaJames Brown released "I'm Black and I'm Proud" during the height of the Black Power Movement in the United States in 1968. Brown's in-your-face approach to racial pride resonated 

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Asia's Africans

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. What better time to discover or learn more about Afro-Asians? As our groundbreaking exhibition Africans in India shows, some became navy commanders, army generals, and founders of dynasties. In Ahmedabad, in the Indian state of Gujarat, they left an impressive architectural legacy. Today, some Sidis live there in a small compound where they proudly maintain their culture.Read More ›

Africans in India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers

Generals, commanders, admirals, prime ministers, and rulers, East Africans greatly distinguished themselves in India. They wrote a story unparalleled in the rest of the world — that of enslaved Africans attaining the pinnacle of military and political authority not only in a foreign country but also on another continent. Come discover their extraordinary story in a groundbreaking exhibition at the Schomburg Center — on view from February 1 to July 6 — and on March 21, join Dr. Faeeza Jasdanwalla, a descendant of the African dynasty of Janjira for a conversation on this 

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Django Unchained: Lorraine Hansberry Unbridled

Angelic stranger, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) grants freedom to hapless Texas slave Django (Jamie Foxx). Schultz, a kindly German dentist-turned-bounty hunter, provides Django with employment, trusting friendship and his first handgun. Django is reborn as a slave-turned-bounty hunter, becoming a vengeful black American superman on a dangerous and deadly mission to free his lovely German-educated wife, Broomhilda von Shaft (Kerry Washington), from a Mississippi cotton plantation.

Django Unchained, directed by

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Manhattan Woman and 20,000 Slaves

Genealogical Ties That Bind.

African Burial Ground Map OverlayWe met at the Chambers Street IRT subway station — Lynn Jencks, descendant of an early Dutch family, and me, descendant of Lenape, Dutch and Africans. About 400 years ago, Dutch and enslaved Africans arrived into the ancient Algonquian wilderness that became New York City. Lynn, who lives in Illinois, had never been to the property owned by her ancestors and worked upon by slaves.

"Christopher guided me out of the subway and we emerged into the crisp clear December 

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Clicks to the Black World

Digital Schomburg's online exhibitions on various aspects of the black experience have truly become a global phenomenon. They are attracting visitors from all over the world. From Argentina to Zimbabwe and Montenegro and the Maldives in between. What do they know that perhaps you don't?

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience remains the most visited curated exhibition of The New York Public Library. With a few clicks, visitors from 206 countries and territories, including Kazakhstan, Tonga, Suriname, Mongolia and Malawi, 

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Reclaiming My West Indian Roots, with Poetry

As a young girl growing up in Jamaica — and later in Brooklyn, NY — I often heard the poetry of Louise Bennett (Jamaicans affectionately call her "Miss Lou") permeate the air. One of my earliest recollections of Miss Lou’s lyricism was hearing the term mout amassi (big mouth). The term comes from the title of one of her most popular poems about a young lady, Liza, who loves to gossip and chat.

To be called a "mout amassi" 

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