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A Cultural Gem in South Florida: The African American Research Library

Posted at 5:10 PM, Jun 11, 2024

South Florida stands out as one of the most diverse regions in the state, and it proudly celebrates this diversity. One of the pivotal institutions contributing to this celebration is the African American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC). This center fosters an appreciation of the contributions of individuals of African and Caribbean descent, serving as a vital resource in the community.

Situated in the heart of one of Broward County’s historically black communities, the AARLCC spans a remarkable 60,000 square feet. This facility is renowned for its extensive collection of books on black history and culture, boasting an impressive array of more than 85,000 books, manuscripts, artifacts, and documents.

Beyond its vast collection, the library functions as a community hub, offering opportunities for ideas, social interaction, and personal growth. Many community members, like one local student pursuing a master's degree, frequent the library to take advantage of its resources.

"I actually come often. I got my Bachelor's here studying in this library and now I’m working on my master's. The African American Library has a great history, and it is like home to me," shared Ilrhana Reynolds, who has been visiting the museum for 23 years.

The AARLCC also features permanent and traveling exhibits, providing visitors with deeper insights into African and Caribbean heritage. One notable exhibit is the "Symbols of Spirit" collection, showcasing African masks and exploring the spiritual legacy of the African continent.

The library plays a significant role in commemorating Juneteenth, a crucial date in African American history. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger led Union soldiers to Galveston, Texas, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, marking the freedom of all enslaved people. Juneteenth combines the words June and 19th and is an important symbol of freedom and African American heritage.

"In this moment, when there's just so much misinformation and interference with the teaching of black history, it's really important to have a place like AARLCC where people can come and find factual information. That's one of the reasons why we launched our Saturday school Black History Series… We hope that the community knows that we're here as a resource for them, especially for our young people as a source of inspiration," said the library’s regional manager, Dr. Tameka Bradley Hobbs.

On June 14th, the AARLCC will host the "Destination Freedom" event, a celebration of Juneteenth. The event on Friday night is open to those 21 and older from 6:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M., while Saturday, June 15th, features a youth program and a lecture on the history of Juneteenth.

For more information on the African American Research Library and Cultural Center and its programs, visit aarlcc.broward.org.

Inside South Florida

10:49 AM, Jul 26, 2019

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