Schomburg Digital Projects

Explore the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture's digital projects below. See also current online exhibitions.  

Black New Yorkers (NOTE: Website needs repair. Content and features are not working properly)

In May or June 1613, Jan Rodrigues, a free sailor from Hispaniola (in what is today the Dominican Republic), who worked for a Dutch fur trading company, was left on Manhattan Island to trade with Native Americans. A black man, he was the first non-Native American to settle on the island. Starting with Rodrigues’ arrival, Black New Yorkers, an exploration of 400 years of African-American history in New York, tells the story of sixteen generations of New Yorkers in essays, prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, tables, and newspapers.


Revisiting Rebellion: Nat Turner in the American Imagination

The American Antiquarian Society and the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery have partnered to create a digital exhibition on Nat Turner. Using print and manuscript collections at the American Antiquarian Society and the Schomburg Center, this exhibition explores portrayals of Turner in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 


Black Power! The Movement, The Legacy

Black Power! The Movement, The Legacy: The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Black Power, one of the least understood and vilified movements in American history. Yet the movement has had a tremendous impact on issues of race, identity, politics, criminal justice, culture, art, and education globally. Black Power’s successes and weaknesses have largely molded the past half century.


Ready for the Revolution: Education, Arts, and Aesthetics of the Black Power Movement

Between 1966 and 1976, young men and women created countless cultural, educational, and social programs under the banner of the Black Power ideology. They developed a new black consciousness that galvanized millions of people in the broadest movement in African American history.

Emmett Till Project

For the 60th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has launched a digital commemorative project exploring Till's legacy and this landmark moment in American history. This website includes a selection of primary sources, podcasts, and commissioned essays that present a narrative connecting the story of Emmett Till to the contemporary issues concerning race and the criminalization of black youth in America.


The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World

(As of December 2020, Adobe Flash player is no longer supported. Content and features may not display properly.)

Over the course of nearly 20 centuries, millions of East Africans crossed the Indian Ocean and its several seas and adjoining bodies of water in their journey to distant lands, from Arabia and Iraq to India and Sri Lanka. They Africanized the Indian Ocean world and helped shape the societies they entered and made their own. The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World traces their truly unique and fascinating story of struggles and achievements across a variety of societies, cultures, religions, languages, and times.


Africana Age: African & African Diasporan Transformations in the 20th Century

(As of December 2020, Adobe Flash player is no longer supported. Content and features may not display properly.)

By the end of the 19th century, Africans and people of African descent—except the Ethiopians, the Haitians and the Liberians—were living under some form of European colonial domination. The history of Africa and its Diaspora was dismissed as insignificant at best, inexistent at worse. Black cultures were ridiculed, stereotyped, and scorned. But over the course of the last 100 years black people the world over launched epic struggles for freedom, civil rights, and independence. Africana Age retraces this turbulent history of challenges, tragedies, and triumphs.

The Abolition of the Slave Trade: The Forgotten Story

(As of December 2020, Adobe Flash player is no longer supported. Content and features may not display properly.)

The abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was a long, arduous, and tortuous process that spanned almost nine decades. Ultimately, a conjunction of economic, political, social, and moral factors contributed to the slow extinction of the legal slave trade and the end of the illegal introductions that, in several countries, had taken its place. Explore this forgotten story with the help of essays, books, articles, maps, and illustrations.

Barack ObamaAfrican Americans and American Politics: An Exhibition From The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

(As of December 2020, Adobe Flash player is no longer supported. Content and features may not display properly.)

Before Barack Obama, there was Crispus Attucks, Frederick Douglass, the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, Mary McLeod Bethune, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and a host of other heroes and heroines of the African-American struggle for freedom and human dignity, fighting to make America and American Democracy real for all of its citizens. Like Attucks, people of African descent were there at the founding of the nation. And since Attucks, millions have fought, bled and died to help define, defend and protect the ideals of freedom, justice and equality embodied in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. African Americans and American Politics is a brief survey of that quest over the last 200+ years.

Burial GroundThe African Burial Ground 

(As of December 2020, Adobe Flash player is no longer supported. Content and features may not display properly.)

More than a decade ago in New York City, archaeologists excavated one of the most significant finds in American history: the largest known intact colonial African cemetery in America, the African Burial Ground. This exhibition explores some of the burial sites and artifacts found during the excavations. Slide shows and videos document the Rites of Ancestral Return which took place in October 2003.

three women standingHarlem 1900–1940

(As of December 2020, Adobe Flash player is no longer supported. Content and features may not display properly.)

This exhibition presents various elements of the history of the urban experience in Harlem's early days as the Cultural Capital of African Americans. This history education portfolio provides a timeline and lesson plans.



In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience

In Motion presents a new interpretation of African-American history, one that focuses on the self-motivated activities of peoples of African descent to remake themselves and their worlds. With 16,000 pages of text, 8,300 illustrations, numerous maps, and lesson plans, this exhibition documents 400 years of migration to, within and out of the United States.



Lest We Forget: The Triumph Over Slavery

(As of December 2020, Adobe Flash player is no longer supported. Content and features may not display properly.)

Though victimized, exploited and oppressed, Africans in the Americas have been active, creative agents of their own history, culture, and political future. Their story is about living, surviving, and winning in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Lest We Forget documents and interprets the obstacle-ridden but life-affirming experiences of the Africans who were enslaved in the Western Hemisphere.

Malcolm XMalcolm X: A Search for Truth

Based in part on the collection of personal and professional papers and memorabilia of Malcolm X deposited at the Schomburg Center, this exhibition presents a provocative and informative perspective on his life. It poses questions about the nature of the journey that Malcolm Little pursued to become El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and focuses on the process and products of his driving intellectual quest for truth about himself, his family, his people, his country, and his world.



Images from the African Diaspora (This site has been retired. Images can be found in the NYPL Digital Collections)   View images documenting the social, political, and cultural world across the African diaspora in the NYPL Digital Collections, which includes thousands of images digitized from the Schomburg Center collections.