One of the most influential forces behind the creation of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library is the man whose name the building is named, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. Born in Puerto Rico in 1874 to a black mother and father of German descent, young Arturo often wondered about the lack of African history taught in his school classrooms. This interest formed the cornerstone of Schomburg’s eventual work which consisted of research and preservation, a work that led him to become one of the leading collectors of Black literature, slave narratives, works of art, and diaspora materials. African of the world.
Living in Harlem, Schomburg coined the term «Afro-Borinqueno» to celebrate his heritage as a Latino of African descent. Blacks faced severe discrimination in New York City in the 1890s and early 1900s, according to the Schomburg Center, a part of the New York Public Library. They were «denied work as longshoremen, street cleaners, baggage handlers, cement haulers and garment workers,» the center notes.
Schomburg’s essay «Black Digs Out His Past» was published in a special issue of Survey Graphic, which promoted the artistic endeavors of black writers. The essay was later included in the anthology «The New Negro» edited by Alain Locke. Schomburg’s essay influenced many blacks to begin studying their past. In it, Schomburg wrote that «blacks have to dig into their own history to assert themselves in the face of ongoing oppression,» according to Polite on Society, a website that focuses on black literature, social and political commentary. Schomburg wrote:
«Although it is orthodox to think of the United States as the only country where it is not necessary to have a past, what is a luxury for the nation as a whole becomes a primary social need for blacks.»
Have you ever thought about what would happen if one day all your culture and tradition were forgotten ?, because Schomburg did not want to get to live that reality now or ever, he did not want to have to face future generations with this possibility, is For that reason, he did everything possible so that his inheritance was not forgotten.