Black Ancestors : Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938)

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by cherryblossom, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/schomburg-arturo-alfonso-1874-1938

    Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, writer, activist, collector, and important figure of the Harlem Renaissance was born in Saturce, Puerto Rico. His mother, a black woman, was originally from St. Croix, Danish Virgin Islands, and his father was a Puerto Rican of German ancestry. Schomburg migrated to New York City in 1891. Very active in the liberation movements of Puerto Rico and Cuba, he founded Las dos Antillas, a cultural and political group that worked for the islands’ independence. After the collapse of the Cuban revolutionary struggle, and the cession of Puerto-Rico to the U.S., Schomburg, disillusioned, turned his attention to the African American community. In 1911, as its Master, he renamed El Sol de Cuba #38, a lodge of Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants, as Prince Hall Lodge in honor of the first black freemason in the country.

    The same year, he also founded the Negro Society for Historical Research. In 1922 he was elected president of the American Negro Academy.

    Schomburg was an avid collector of materials on Africa and its Diaspora, amassing over 10,000 documents. In 1926 his personal collection was added to the Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints of the Harlem branch of The New York Public Library and he served as curator from 1932 until his death. Today, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of The New York Public Library is one of the foremost research centers on Africa and the Diaspora, with more than 10 million items.
    Sources:
    Jesse, Hoffnung-Garskof, “The Migrations of Arturo Schomburg: On Being Antillano, Negro, and Puerto Rican in New York, 1891-1938,” Journal of American Ethnic History, vol. 21, no 1 (November 2001): 3-49; Elinor Des Verney Sinnette, Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, Black Bibliophile and Collector: A Biography (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1988).
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    http://philosopedia.org/index.php/Arturo_Alfonso_Schomburg
    ...
    • it was when he was in the fifth grade in Puerto Rico that a history instructor of European decent asserted that people of color had no history, no heroes, no great moments, and no notable accomplishments. It was this instructor's racist statement and his own interest in history that created and drove young Schomburg's obsession with making black history "less a matter of argument and more a matter of fact." (Schomburg, The Negro Digs Up His Past, 1925). Arturo Alfonso Schomburg thus embarked on a lifelong quest to correct misinformation and to educate the general public by discovering, detailing, documenting and disseminating information and artifacts concerning the culture, history, art, and achievements of people of the African Diaspora. During his quest, he amassed a comprehensive and unique collection of ten thousand items from the four comers of the world.
    It became Schomburg's objective to disprove that the black race was inferior, and he wrote,
    • Generation after generation, mankind is taught a false history, a history which excludes the contributions and influence of the African people and their descendants.
    W.E.B. Du Bois, Alan Locke, Kelly Miller, Carter G. Woodson and Marcus Garvey supported Schomburg's cause and helped him by editing his essays and writings to make them more readable. Schomburg's collaboration with these scholars resulted in the creation of his best works. Schomburg's English writing ability and grammar had been often criticized. In 1911, with the assistance of John Edward Bruce, Schomburg formed the Negro Society for Historical Research. Through his affiliation with the "Society", Schomburg gained the support of a vast network of colleagues and influential friends who enhanced his contributions and provided financial assistance. This financial and moral encouragement helped him to increase his collection and to continue his research of African world history.
    The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

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    In 1911 he co-founded the Negro Society for Historical Research, later being inducted into and presiding over the American Negro Academy, an organization that championed black history and combatted "scientific racism" of the day. He went on to direct acquisitions for Fisk University's Negro Collection, which eventually he curated. His legacy was to present a collection of thousands of slave narratives, manuscripts, rare books, journals, and artwork to New York Public Library's Division of Negro History, made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation. Eventually he curated his own collection, now renamed the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and having in excess of six million items.
     
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