Meet Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, the man who built a library: At-home activities for grade schoolers

In honor of Black History Month, let’s learn more about Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, a Puerto Rican historian, writer, curator, and activist!

Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico in 1874, Schomburg was the son of a Puerto Rican merchant of German descent and an Afro-Caribbean woman from the Danish West Indies. He spent the majority of his time in Puerto Rico until moving to New York City at age 17.

Upon arrival in New York City, Schomburg began supporting the Puerto Rican and Cuban independence movements. He also continued to develop his interest in Black history, which was spurred early on in his childhood when a grade school teacher told him that Black culture lacked a noteworthy history.

Schomburg made it his mission and life’s work to collect and write about African and African diasporic contributions to history and culture. His influence on the Harlem Renaissance was enormous, and his extensive collection of intellectual, artistic, and cultural legacies of African and individuals of African descent forms the foundation for the present-day Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

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