The much anticipated African-American Research Library and Cultural Center is scheduled to open in…
The much anticipated African-American Research Library and Cultural Center is scheduled to open in Greater Fort Lauderdale on October 26, 2002. Beginning October 19, a week of festivities will mark the occasion. A new focal point for the destination, the facility will serve as a research library and cultural center for scholars, students and the general public and provide a full range of library services to the immediate community.
The 60,000 square foot African-American Research Library and Cultural Center is located at the southeast corner of Northwest 27 Avenue and Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. It will be only the third of its kind in the United States, joining the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York and the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta. The auditorium and exhibit areas will provide opportunities to exchange ideas and cultural values as well as promote an understanding and appreciation of the contributions of persons of African descent.
More than money, bricks and mortar have gone into this library. It is being built with faith and the belief that historical and cultural experiences are an index to the future, said Broward County Commission Chair Lori Nance Parrish. This facility will enrich Broward County and attract people from the four corners of the world – from school children to scholars. It will distinguish us in educational circles and will reflect most favorably on the residents of our multicultural county.
Broward County Library director Samuel F. Morrison commented, In human terms, this place will allow our children to learn about themselves. It will also attract scholars and historians, even filmmakers, interested in the history of black people.
The cultural and community component consists of:
- A 300 seat state-of-the art auditorium
- 5,000 feet of gallery space showcasing permanent and traveling exhibits
- Seminar and meeting rooms for community organizations
- Multimedia area
The library and research component offers an array of community services, including:
- An unparalleled collection of 75,000 books, artifacts and documents full of the rich history and culture of persons of African descent
- An interactive youth center
- A computer lab equipped with best-of-class technology
- A full service small business resource center
The special collections include:
- Daniel M. Johnson Collection
- Dorothy Porter Wesley Collection
- Osemwegie Ebohon Collection (Benin City, Nigeria)
- Alex Haley Collection
- Hewitt Haitian Art Collection
- Sixto Campano Sheet Music Collection
- Kitty Oliver Oral History Collection
- Fisk University Collection
- Rev. Maurice Dawkins Collection
- Computer lab
- Minority business resources
- Programs, special events, seminars and cultural activities
- Lifelong learning and literacy programs
- Research support
- Youth and young adult programs
- Community outreach programs
Award-winning interior designer Cecil Hayes, owner of Designers Unlimited, Inc. in Coconut Creek, FL, will bring an Afro centric touch to the interior. Hayes grew up in Florida and graduated from Florida A & M University and the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. He has designed interiors for actors Wesley Snipes and Samuel L. Jackson as well as NBA basketball star Anfernee Penny Hardaway. Her work has been featured in over a dozen professional magazines, including Architectural Digest. The Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania, FL recently awarded Hayes the Visionary in Design Award.
The engineer and architect is PAWA Complex Int`l, Inc., the largest African-American owned architectural and engineering firm in the U.S., with offices in Broward County. PAWA`s client list includes Miami International Airport, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and the Department of Transportation.
The public art designer is Gary Moore, a graduate of the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program in New York. His awards include the National Endowment for the Arts Design for Transportation National Award in 1996, a Research Fellowship at University of Miami in 1991 and a Florida State Fellowship in Painting in 1989.
Major private sector donors of more than $100,000 include: Huzienga Family Foundation, AutoNation, Kresge Foundation, Citigroup Foundation, Gates Library Foundation, Dianne and Michael Bienes, Sun-Sentinel South Florida/Sun-Sentinel Tribune Children`s Fund, Minority Builders Association, Barbara and Milton Jones, and many more.
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