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The New York Public Library Unveils Commemorative Display, “The Struggle For Justice: Nelson Mandela, A Tribute” Celebrating the Life and Legacy of President Nelson Mandela


Two-part exhibition chronicles Mandela’s legacy, on display at the Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

December 9, 2013— Nelson Mandela died on December 5th at the age of 95 leaving a decades-long legacy of struggle and peace. In commemoration of his life, The New York Public Library (NYPL) has unveiled “The Struggle for Justice: Nelson Mandela, A Tribute” two multi-media retrospectives featuring unique items from the archives of the Library’s Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture. The two exhibitions will be on display simultaneously through December 21 at The Schomburg Center in Harlem and the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

“The New York Public Library joins the world in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela,” said Tony Marx, NYPL President. “Nelson Mandela believed in education, free and open to all, regardless of color, economic status, or religion - aiming to inspire the creativity of a new and better world. The foundation of this work lies in learning. It is where we learn from the past, envision the future, and do that together across all differences. The New York Public Library honors the memory of Nelson Mandela. Our doors of learning will indeed remain open to all."

“The Struggle for Justice: Nelson Mandela, A Tribute” chronicles the achievements and contributions of the iconic statesman: his early days as a young lawyer in Johannesburg, his work as a political activist fighting apartheid, his infamous 27 year imprisonment and his ascension to become South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

“We mourn the loss of a mentor, a teacher and a friend to all. Nelson Mandela represented one of the last living human rights icons that shifted the international perspective on race, global oppression and peace.  His work and identity represented a significant moral compass for the world for ending racial discrimination and promoting the ideals of democracy,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Items on view at both locations include ballots from the 1994 election for President in South Africa and a selection of materials – posters, buttons and pamphlets - that chronicle the support Mandela received from around the world during his struggle against apartheid, as well as featuring broadcast coverage from Mandela’s visit to New York City in 1990.

The public is encouraged to share their personal thoughts and reflections on the life of President Mandela in two guest books at both locations and through NYPL’s dedicated Facebook page –

The exhibition items in “The Struggle for Justice: Nelson Mandela, A Tribute” have been provided by the Schomburg Center’s Arts& Artifacts Division, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, and Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division.



About The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 91 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at

The Schomburg Center

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The NewYork Public Library, is generally recognized as one of the leading institutions of itskind in the world. For nearly 90 years the Center has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African descent. Educational and Cultural Programs at the Schomburg Center complement its research services and interpret its collections. Seminars, forums, workshops, staged readings, film screenings, performing arts programs, and special events are presented year-round. More information about Schomburg’s collections and programs can be found