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

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

Schomburg Exhibitions

The New York Public Library offers free major exhibitions and special displays at three of its research library locations—the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Library for the Performing Arts, and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture—and community showcases at many of its branch locations throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island.

The following are exhibitions created by Schomburg Center staff and student learners and provide examples of how the materials at the Schomburg Center can be used to interpret Black life. These particular examples show Black people engaging in protest.

Subversion & The Art of Slavery Abolition

Curated by Dr. Michelle Commander, Associate Director and Curator of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery, the Physical and Online exhibition, Subversion & The Art of Slavery Abolition highlights several of the ways that abolitionists engaged with the arts to agitate for enslaved people’s liberty in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Explore the Online Exhibition Gallery  for evidence of Brutality & Avarice, Resistance & Rebellion, Abolitionism, Poetics & Music, Narrative of Fugivity & Fidelity, Anti-Slavery Children's Primers, and Installation Images.

By Any 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.