Treasures: Voices in Black History

By NYPL Staff
February 1, 2022

In honor of Black History Month, this guide highlights an array of items on view in the Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures that help shed light on experiences lived and stories told by Black writers, artists, activists, and more. Featuring only a selection of objects on display that span that Library’s collections, and presented loosely in order of how they would be encountered in the exhibition, many are part of the Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a world-leading cultural institution devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. 

collage of archival documents
collage of archival documents
collage of archival documents
collage of archival documents

Reserve your timed tickets to see these objects and more in the Polonsky Exhibition, on view at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Plus, learn more about all there is to discover at the Schomburg Center, including exhibitions, programs, how to access the collections, and more.

Portrait of John and Alice Coltrane by Chuck Stewart, © Chuck Stewart Photography, LLC
James Baldwin’s handwritten “Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis, in care of the Silent Majority,” © The Estate of James Baldwin
John Moore’s Liberty and Justice, © John Moore
Page from James Baldwin’s draft of “The Novel,” © The Estate of James Baldwin
Norman Lewis’s Street Music—Jenkins Band, © Estate of Norman Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY