The Black Archives Research Center and Museum is located in Carnegie Library, the
oldest brick building on the campus of Florida A&M University. A fire in 1905 destroyed
Duval Hall, which housed the school’s first library. The school, under the leadership
of its second President, Nathan B. Young, solicited help from the famous philanthropist
Andrew Carnegie, who donated $10,000 to rebuild the library. Completed in 1907, the
two-story building was the first Carnegie Library built on a Black land-grant college
campus. It served as FAMU’s second library until 1947, when a larger resource center,
Coleman Library, was constructed. In the 1950s and 1960s, Carnegie Library was used
as an art gallery and for art classes. In the early 1970s, it was utilized as a religious
center, and in 1976, FAMU President Benjamin L. Perry, Jr., designated Carnegie Library
as the founding home of the Black Archives Research Center and Museum. In 1978, the
building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1991, the structure
underwent exterior renovations.
Union Bank Facility
The Union Bank was built in 1841 and served as a planter's bank during Florida's territorial
period. From 1869-1874, it housed the National Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company.
The facility is Florida's oldest surviving bank, and is on the National Register of
Historic Places. Interior renovations at Carnegie Library in 1996, led to a cooperative
venture with the State of Florida. During this time, the Black Archives opened a satellite
facility in the historic Union Bank building (a former Freedman’s Bureau Bank) in
downtown Tallahassee. It presently serves as the home of the Black Archives' Capitol
Complex satellite facility.
For nearly 30 years, public demands for the center’s numerous services constantly
grew. Equally impressive is the fact that members of the general public continue to
donate all kinds of historical material. As a result, the Black Archives’ Carnegie
Library facility became overcrowded.
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 Legislature officially named the new expansion facility
the Carrie Meek - James N. Eaton, Sr. Building.
Currently the two facilities, Carnegie Library and the Expansion Facility form 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