Photo: @SchomburgCenter

Since 1925, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has preserved and made accessible over 11 million objects in Black diasporic knowledge through the New York Public Library system. To support students, teachers, and researchers using these collections or seeking materials to begin areas of study in Black culture, the Schomburg has launched the #SchomburgSyllabus — a web-accessible, curated reference guide.

The #SchomburgSyllabus catalogs 27 themes of Black culture that encourage self-education and research in honor of founder Arturo Schomburg’s vision. The syllabus— available online at www.nypl.org/spotlight/schomburg-syllabus — references the Schomburg Center’s collection of rare books, manuscripts, audio collections, and reference material, as well as popular syllabi across the diaspora.

“The #SchomburgSyllabus is a testament to the value of collective efforts to preserve and share Black history,” said Schomburg Digital Archivist Zakiya Collier, who curated the project for two years. “The collaborative efforts that enabled Arturo Schomburg to amass his collection are the same collaborative efforts that make hashtag syllabi and the #SchomburgSyllabus possible 95 years later.”

The syllabus thoughtfully curates Black-authored and Black related topics include:

  • Afrofuturism – (ex: a collection of writings from Sun-Ra, a conversation with Reynaldo Anderson, and a guide to the Schomburg’s Black Comic Book Festival).
  • Environmental Racism – (ex: an exploration of the Flint Water Crisis, papers from Jean Sindab)
  • Fashion – (ex: papers from Patrick Kelly and Barbara Mae Watson, a look into the “Black Dandy” Movement).
  • Mental Health Awareness – (ex: References from Lafargue Clinic and the Black Panther Party, papers from June Jackson Christmas)
  • Music – (ex: Afro-punk history and Hip-Hop Archive Project files)
  • Protests – (ex: Protest and Pedagogy syllabus, South African anti-apartheid poster collection, Files from the Black Panther Harlem Branch.)
  • Theater – (ex: the extensive Schomburg African American Theater LibGuide, The Ferguson Theatre Syllabus) 

The #SchomburgSyllabus is available online for free and references digital and physical materials that can be found in person at the Schomburg Center. Some items will need to be requested through the Schomburg and The New York Public Library to be viewed. 

The #SchomburgSyllabus is made possible through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s generous support and the Community Webs program, which is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Internet Archive, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

About the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Founded in 1925 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the preservation, research, interpretation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diasporan, and African experiences. As a research division of The New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center features diverse programming and collections totaling over 11 million items that illuminate the richness of global black history, arts, and culture. Learn more at schomburgcenter.org.

About the New York Public Library 
For over 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 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 receives approximately 18 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. 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 nypl.org/support.