The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection is one of the nation's leading research facilities for the study of the history and culture of African Americans. The core collection was donated to Temple University in 1983 by Charles L. Blockson, a historian, bibliophile and collector of Afro-Americana. As a major research facility, it provides materials, expository programs and service for Black Studies research scholars. The collection is used by a wide spectrum of researchers ranging from high school students to well-established scholars.
Located in Sullivan Hall on the main campus of Temple University, this collection of over 500,000 items has materials on the global black experience in all formats: books, manuscripts, pamphlets, journals, broadsides, posters, photographs, audiotapes, videos, DVDs and rare ephemera. In addition, the collection houses selected artifacts, including statues, busts and figurines.
Most of the titles are in English and others are in languages of areas in the world with sizeable black populations, including Africa and various parts of the Caribbean and South America. Information contained in fliers, newspaper and magazine clippings, pamphlets and ephemera is available in the Blockson Clipping File. Books and other materials owned by Blockson Afro-American Collection are included in Diamond: Temple University Libraries Catalog. One can search by author, title, keyword, or subject and then select Blockson Collection before clicking the submit button. Temple University Libraries Digital Collections offer access to the primary historical and cultural resources of Temple Univeristy Libraries, inlcuding the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection.
A permanent rotating exhibit which changes themes periodically is on display upon entering the Collection. The exhibit is displayed in the foyer of the reading room. Other exhibit items are located within the reading room, along the wall.