Nelson Mandela Resource Guide

By NYPL Staff
July 18, 2017
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realized. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

--Nelson Mandela’s defense statement during the Rivonia Trial, 1964

Nelson Mandela Portrait Collection.

Photographs and Prints Division,
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
The New York Public Library,
Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
©Chester Higgins/

Nelson Mandela International Day or Mandela Day is celebrated on July 18, the day anti-apartheid activist was born in 1918. The day was declared by the United Nations in 2009, in recognition of his contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. On this day, people devote 67 minutes of their time to community service and humanitarian acts. The 67 minutes is for one minute every year Mandela devoted to public service. This is a small effort to keep his legacy alive. Last year, the United Nations Department of Public Information and United Nations Women provided professional clothing donations, career counseling, child care, and nutritious meals in volunteer activities to women in need across New York City.

Mandela was an international political icon, who spent a lifetime fighting for his country and for all its people to be equal against racial oppression in South Africa. A political prisoner for 27 years, he became the human embodiment of the struggle against government-mandated discrimination of apartheid. He was released from prison in 1990, ready to lead his country towards equality and justice. Mandela reclaimed his leadership role in the once-banned African National Congress (ANC) and fought tirelessly to dismantle apartheid segregations. In 1994, Mandela won South Africa’s first free election and became its first black president. During his presidency, he worked towards rebuilding South Africa’s economy that was in crisis from apartheid,  poverty, inequalities, unequal access to social services, and infrastructure. He left office in 1999 after serving one term but continued to actively work for civil rights. Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013, at the age of 95 after suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection. South Africa observed a national mourning period of 10 days, and a state funeral was held on December 15 in Qunu, where his body is buried.

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is excited to celebrate what would be Mandela’s 99th birthday, and present the Nelson Mandela Resource Guide. Using the platform LibGuide, a content management and information sharing system designed for libraries, the guide will provide researchers access to the Schomburg’s collections. This guide has been arranged from the five divisions at the Schomburg Center: Arts and Artifact DivisionJean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference DivisionManuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books DivisionMoving Image and Recorded Sound Division, and the Photographs and Prints Division.