Preserving Black History

Charles L. Blockson

Charles L. Blockson, founder of Temple University's Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, reflects on a childhood experience that sparked a lifelong passion for collecting African-American texts and cultural artifacts. Today, with more than 500,000 articles, the collection is one of the world’s largest relating to the African Diaspora. After encountering William Still’s “The Underground Rail Road” in Leary’s Book Store in Philadelphia, Blockson discovered his family’s relation to perhaps the most famous “conductor” on the passageway to freedom – Harriet Tubman.

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