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By Any Means Necessary: Documenting Black Protest in the Schomburg Center: Archival Media

This research guide highlights collections that document slave revolts and other forms of protest lead by the Black community.

Exploring the Research Divisions

The Schomburg Center is organized by material format. This means that appointments to view photographs, art work, and audiovisual materials need to be made separately. Click through the tabs below to learn about the types of materials in the Art and Artifacts, Moving Image and Recorded Sound, and Photographs and Prints Divisions.

Primary Source Research at the Schomburg Center

The Art and Artifacts Division of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture collects, documents, preserves, and interprets art and artifacts by and about peoples of African heritage throughout the world.

The following include examples of materials in this division that document Black Protest.

Buttons

The division holds over 1,200 buttons, many of which document the political campaigns of Black politicians, or political or social movements. A sample of the collection is available to view in the NYPL Digital Collections.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. "Free Angela and all political prisoners" New York Public Library Digital Collections.

 

          Posters

               There are well over 4,000 posters in the collection documenting political, social, and cultural activities and events. A                 sample of the collection is available to view in the NYPL Digital Collections.

               United States Political Poster Collection

               E.S. Reddy South African anti-Apartheid Poster Collection

               South African Poster Collection

                  Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. "Support Black Liberation, Free Assata Shakur, Free Sundiata Acoli, Break the                          Chains" New York Public Library Digital Collections.

 

 

Black Arts Movement (1960s and 1970s)

Founded by poet, Amiri Baraka (1934-2014), artists of the Black Arts Movement used activism and art to create new cultural institutions to celebrate Black art and culture. Art from this time period often was a protest against racial stereotypes and white supremacy. The following is a short list of artists in our collection who were creating during the Black Arts Movement .

Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012)- Sculptor and graphic artist

  • Malcolm X Speaks for Us, 1969, Linocut on Paper
  • Homage to the Panthers, 1970, Linocut on Paper
  • Political Prisoner, 1971, Wood

Ademola Olugebefola (1941- )- Print maker, painter, and artist

  • View the Ademola Olugebefola research guide to learn about this artist, his work in the collection, and the Weusi Artist Collective.

 

Artist Files

Assembled by the Art and Artifacts Division of the Schomburg Center, Artists files include Black artists who are represented in the collection, and some who are not. Files include newspaper and magazine clippings, postcards, book marks, and other ephemera that has been collected about the artist. Select artists include the following:

  • Wadsworth Jarrell
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Betye Saar
  • Nelson Stevens

 

Contemporary Protest Posters

The Art and Artifacts Division, like the other research divisions, is actively collecting materials concerning the documentation of the Black diaphora. Contemporary posters created for local protests are added to the collection when they are available. Some examples include the following:

  • Eric Garner Protest Posters, 2014
  • Women's March, New York City Posters, 2017

Additional materials can be located with the help of the reference librarian. Please contact the division directly to inquire about research topics and access. SchomburgArt@nypl.org

The Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture documents the experiences of peoples of African descent, as they have been captured via audiovisual technology.

The following is a sample of materials in the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division that documents the history of Black Protest.

Additional materials can be identified with the help of the reference librarian. Please contact them directly to inquire about research topics and access. SchomburgAudiovisual@nypl.org

The Photographs and Prints Division of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, contains both documentary and fine art photographs, which document the history and culture of people of African descent worldwide as well as the work of photographers of African descent. The collection of over 300,000 images ranges from mid-eighteenth-century graphics to contemporary documentary and art photography.

The following collections contain photographic documentation of Black Protest.

Additional collection materials can be identified with the help of the reference librarian. Please contact them directly to inquire about research topics and access. SchomburgPhotography@nypl.org

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. "Paul Robeson joining members of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP in a picket line in front of Ford's Theater, Baltimore." New York Public Library Digital Collections

Projects using Schomburg Center collections

By An Means Necessary Project

The 2019-2020 class of the Schomburg Center’s Junior Scholars Program is pleased to present By Any Means Necessary, a digital project based in part on a yearlong study of Malcolm X. By Any Means Necessary responds to the materials from the extraordinary collection of personal and professional papers and memorabilia of Malcolm X held at the Schomburg Center (now available for research) as well as other collections from the Schomburg Center, producing provocative and informative perspectives on the teachings of the 20th-century icon known variously as Malcolm Little, “Detroit Red,” Malcolm X, and El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.

Nonlinear Pendulums: Voyage through Infinite Blackness

Nonlinear Pendulums: Voyage through Infinite Blackness is a cosmic offering organized by the Schomburg Center’s Teen Curators, a Black art history and curatorial program for high school students. This year, our Teen Curators produced a digital exhibition which drew inspiration from the cultural aesthetics of both AfroFuturism and AfroSurrealism. While codified in the last thirty years, the impulses of both have always existed in the Black collective unconscious and it is our belief that where one ends, the other begins. Throughout myriad African societies, individuals have embodied voices of the past, present and future. When the children of Africa were kidnapped and transported to the Americas these embedded archetypes followed.