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Digital Archives of Broward County Library

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About the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center

  

Broward County Library’s African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) is a highly-specialized center whose mission is to collect, preserve and provide access to research materials focusing on the history, culture and people of African, African-American and Caribbean descent. Opened in October 2002, it carries the distinction of being the third library of its kind in the nation.

  

The AARLCC Special Collections section contains 35,100 cubic feet of archival space housing approximately one million items, including rare books, artifacts, artwork, manuscripts and reference materials. Within the archives are more than 40 named collections with over 23,700 cataloged items available for use. The Special Collections and archives are located within a 60,000-square-foot full-service regional library with an active schedule of exhibits and programs.

  

The library takes great pride in resulting from a grassroots phenomenon. Beginning with a site that was a four-acre vacant lot in 1999, it has grown into one of the region’s most important landmarks through the efforts of determined area residents.

  

Throughout the six-year odyssey to build the library, single items and entire collections were acquired to form many of the core collections and archives. The family of actress Esther Rolle donated her NAACP award, her Emmy award and print and audio-visual materials that highlight her career as a performer. The Alex Haley Papers were acquired including eight unfinished manuscripts by the Roots author and materials related to the record-breaking television series that followed the book. Other significant collections include the Sixto Campano Sheet Music Collection and the Dorothy Porter Wesley Collection, which includes art, women’s studies and reference books related to people of African descent in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. The Niara Sudarkasa Papers fill nearly 200 archival boxes with her anthropological research on Yoruba language and culture; minorities in higher education; and the Black Power Movement in the United States. Notable collections and culturally significant items continue to be added to the library’s impressive holdings.

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