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The Black Archives Research Center

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museum holdings and collectionsThe Black Archive’s museum holdings have brought the center much fame. The majority of Carnegie Library is used as museum exhibition areas. These exhibit areas consist of informative displays on various people, groups, and subjects important to African American history and culture. The exhibits span the time period of ancient Africa to the present. Some exhibits are permanent, while other and temporary and rotating exhibiting exhibitions. The center also schedules special traveling exhibits that are pertinent to African Americans in the nation and the State of Florida.


The Steele – Alexander Memorial Upper Room:
This room is a small, quiet retreat commemorating the history, influence, and contributions of the African American church in Florida and throughout America. The area features museum memorabilia from historical African American churches located in Florida and surrounding areas. Archival collections pertaining to African American religion are also housed in this location. The room is named in honor of Rev. Charles K. Steele, a former pastor of Bethel Baptist Church and the leader of the Tallahassee Bus Boycott, and his protégé Rev. Herbert Alexander.

Joe Lang Kershaw FAMUana Room:

Memorabilia displayed in this room depict almost a century of educational and social life at Florida A&M University. Historical regalia from the school early history, as well as artifacts belonging to outstanding and famous administrators, faculty, staff, students, and organizations are featured. The room is also used for small groups gathered for special lectures, presentations, and social events. The room is named in honor of the Late Joe Lang Kershaw, a FAMU graduate and the first African American since Reconstruction to serve in the Florida Legislature. During his term in office, Kershaw sponsored a bill that led to the creation of the Black Archives Research Center and Museum.


African Americans in Sports Collections
The Black Archives has several collections on Bob “Bullet” Hayes, who was dubbed the “fastest human in the world,” after winning two gold medals in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Memorabilia in these collections include his USA Olympic uniform, bronzed track shoes, action figures, advertisements, books, news clippings, photographs and other material chronicling his college and National Football League careers, and his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame.  Althea Gibson is a FAMU graduate, and an internationally famous tennis pioneer and champion. The book, Althea Gibson, I Always Wanted to be Somebody, rare Sports Illustrated and Time Weekly Magazine, news clippings, photographs and other memorabilia are part of the Althea Gibson Collection.

Black Archives African Americans in the Military Collections

These artifacts are part of the Black Archives’ Buffalo Soldiers exhibit and include books, hand books, hats, insignias, photographs, rifles, sabers, stamps and other military regalia.

Black Archives Caribbean Art Collection

Painting of the famed Fort Jacques, where in 1803, General Jean Jacques Dessalines, successor to Toussaint L’Ouverture, defeated the French army and a year later declared Haiti’s independence.  These are two of the Archives’ more than 200 artifacts and paintings depicting native Caribbean scenes and traditions.

Black Archives Rare Books and Maps Collection

These books and maps on Africa are dated as early as 1799 and are part of the Black Archives’ Rare Books and Maps Collection.

Frank Pinder Ethiopian Artifacts Collection

13th century Ethiopian Icon of “Slaying of the dragon by Saint George” from the Frank Pinder Collection.  The hand-carved Black Jesus is part of the 500-piece Frank Pinder Ethiopian Artifacts Collection.

Joe Nash African American Dance Collection

These playbills and photographs are among the more than 250 items in the Joe Nash African American Dance Collection. Other memorabilia include advertisements, books, magazines, newsletters, posters and programs featuring artists that include Josephine Baker, Katherine Dunham, Alvin Ailey and Judith Jamison.

Klan, Koon and Komics (KKK) Collection

Arm band, membership application, pamphlets, robe, sword and other paraphernalia from the Black Archives KKK Collection.

Lazzarus N. Brown Black Masons Collection

These Masonic aprons, belts, cords, hats and necklaces are from the Lazzarus Brown Masons Collection.

Leffall Family Collection

This color portrait of Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., pioneering surgeon, oncologist, medical educator, author and Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine, was painted by the distinguished actor Billy Dee Williams. Leffall, a FAMU graduate, was the first African-American President of the American Cancer Society, Society of Surgical Oncology, Society of Surgical Chairmen, Washington Academy of Surgery, and American College of Surgeons

Pre-Columbian Artifacts Collection

This stone statue from Central America has been confirmed through carbon-14 testing as being more than 2,000 years old.  It is among other unique artifacts that date back to the period before Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World. Note the distinct Negroid features and jade ear ring.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection

Memorabilia in this collection reflecting the life and times of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. includes autographed books, cards, commemorative plates, legislative acts, obituaries, photographs and stamps.

Slavery in the Old South Collection

These rare leg irons, handcuffs and slave yoke are examples of memorabilia in the Black Archives’ Slavery in the Old South Collection.

  • African American Antiques
  • African American Scientists & Inventors
  • Blacks in Medicare and Science
  • Dr. Don Hill African Artifacts
  • Florida A&M University Memorabilia