The Schomburg Center in Harlem, New York, which regularly showcases black theatre, was designated a National Historic Landmark this week.
In announcing the designation, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a statement saying that the center, which opened in 1925, “represents the idea of the African Diaspora, a revolutionizing model for studying the history and culture of people of African descent that used a global, transnational perspective.”
Located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is named for the Puerto Rican-born Arturo Schomburg (1874-1938), whose collection of rare books, artwork, photographs, films, and other important documents affirming black American cultural history is housed at the center. The collection has since grown to more than 10 million items, which “reflect the multicultural experience of America and the ideals that all Americans should have intellectual freedom and social equality,” according to the statement. The center is part of the New York Public Library system.
It also has a 347-seat performing space, the Langston Hughes Auditorium, used for theatre and dance performances.
The center has hosted exhibitions on numerous black theatre artists, including Ed Bullins, Ntozake Shange, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and others, and in 2016 celebrated the 75th anniversary of the American Negro Theatre (ANT).