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Africana Research Center

Africana Research Center

The Special Collections Research Center collects and preserves materials about the African Diaspora, the movement of Africans (many of whom were enslaved) and their descendants to places throughout the world. The Africana Research Center is gradually developing a collection to support research on this experience through the 20th century. These collections are intended to document the African, African American and Caribbean experiences in Washington, DC through cultural, spiritual, and artistic expressions; social organizations; and political representation.

Woods Brown publication, 1971: The late Letitia Woods Brown, professor of Washington Studies at the George Washington University, prepared this 1971 publication to accompany a National Portrait Gallery exhibition focusing on African Americans in Washington, D.C. during the 18th and 19th centuriesOver the years, The Gelman Library's Special Collections Research Center has acquired significant numbers of books, documents and memorabilia which document the political, cultural, economic, social and historical development of the nation's capital. With the establishment of the African-Americana Research Center, the Library increases its collecting of documents and personal papers by and about African Americans who are native Washingtonians or who spent the greater part of their lives in Washington. The Center's collections, focusing on the African American experience in Washington, DC, highlight the role of people of African descent in shaping the fabric of American life and history.

Click here for a bibliography listing materials in Special Collections that might be of interest to those researching African Americans in Washington. In the next few years the Library will raise funds to endow the curator position and support the acquisition and preparation of resources to assure their accessibility for study and research. With sufficient funding the Center will make key documents from its collections available on the World Wide Web, enabling scholars and researchers everywhere to get a sense of the Center's resources and do some of their work remotely.

Please visit our African Americans topic page for finding aids to collections documenting the African American experience.

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