EXPANSION FACILITIES In 1998, U.S. Senators Bob Graham and Connie Mack, Congresswoman Carrie Meek and Congressman Allen Boyd sponsored a bill that resulted in the center receiving federal funds to help physically expand the Black Archives into a regional research facility. Construction of a $7 million, state-of-the-art was completed in 2005 and officially opened to the public in 2006. Upon accepting these federal appropriations and matching funds from the State of Florida , the center's focus was broadened to encompass the southeastern region. In June 2006, the Florida Legislatiure officially named the new expansion facility Carrie Meek - James N. Eaton, Sr. Building.
Currently, two facilities, Carnegie Library and Expansion Facility, comprise the Carrie Meek - James N. Eaton, Sr. Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum at Florida A&M University. The center is commonly referred to as the Meek-Eaton Black Archives.
The Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum was founded in 1976 by the late Dr. James N. Eaton, Sr. It is located in the historic Carnegie Library on the campus of Florida A&M University. Its mission is to collect, preserve, display, and disseminate accurate information about African Americans and people of African decent worldwide, especially the history of their institutions and organizations. As a specialty museum and research center, the Archives houses rare and unique historical papers, books, and artifacts.
Union Bank Facility
In 1996, in a cooperative venture with the State of Florida, the Black Archives opened a satellite facility in the historic Union Bank building (a former Freedman’s Bureau Bank) in downtown Tallahassee. The exhibits at the Union Bank focus on the African-American experience in Florida.
New Expansion Facility
Over its twenty-six year history, due primarily to generous and continuous donations from the public, the Black Archives Research Center and Museum has developed an impressive holding of archival records and museum artifacts. Consequently, Carnegie Library became overcrowded and began experiencing serious space problems in the late 1980s. In 1998, United States Senators Bob Graham, Connie Mack, U. S. Representatives Carrie Meek and Allen Boyd sponsored a bill that resulted in the center receiving federal funds to help renovate and repair historic Carnegie Library, and physically expand the Black Archives into a regional research facility.
Construction of an expansion facility began in 2003. The new facility is connected to Carnegie Library, and is scheduled to open to the public during the 2005-2006 academic year. Upon accepting funds from the federal government and matching funds from the State of Florida, the center’s focus was broadened and its name was changed to the Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum (SRBARCM). According to officials from FAMU’s Office of Facilities Planning, the combined footage for Carnegie Library and the new expansion facility will total 33,428 gross square feet (GSF).
The additional space will enable the center to greatly expand its archival and museum services, broaden its educational programs, and initiate new public services. Some of the features of the new regional research center include: a gift shop, a lecture hall, space for permanent, temporary and rotating exhibitions, a special children’s museum, an archival reading room and a technology laboratory. Members of the Florida Legislature have proposed naming the new facility the Meek-Eaton Building in honor of FAMU graduate, U.S. Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek (retired), and her close friend and colleague, Dr. James Eaton, the founder of the Black Archives.
Dr. James N. Eaton and architect Karl Thorne, President of Karl Thorne Associates, Inc., with rendition of historic Carnegie Library and the New Expansion Facility.
***Admission is free to all three of the Black Archives’ facilities***