Our Mission

The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection is devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world, with emphasis on African Americans in Philadelphia. The Blockson Collection, with documents illuminating the historical, social, political, and cultural legacies of people of African descent, supports Temple University Libraries’ strategic goals in teaching, research and outreach in the field of African American and/or Black Studies.

Located in Sullivan Hall on the main campus of Temple University, the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection is a unit of Temple University Libraries’ Special Collections. Comprised of more than 700, 000 current and retrospective materials, it is one of the leading research centers in the nation for the study of African American history and culture.

Opera contralto singer Marian Anderson (1897-1993) at podium and First Lady of the United States and civil rights activist Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), seated behind podium wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Philadelphia to attend ceremony held at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church where Liberia honored Marian Anderson. Anderson was the first African American singer to perform at the White House and the first African American to sing with New York′s Metropolitan Opera. Circa 1940s

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