C-75. Developing and Interpreting African American Special Collections

Cheryl Beredo Kevin Young

This course is designed for librarians, archivists, curators, and others with an interest in developing African American special collections and exhibitions. The course will introduce students to the landscape of cultural heritage organizations focused on collecting, preserving, providing access to, and interpreting special collections library materials documenting black life. Special attention will be paid to collection development policy and interpretive exhibitions, especially as they relate to manuscripts, archives and rare books, but also photographs, prints, art and artifacts, moving image and recorded sound, and other distinctive collections. Using the Schomburg Center as a case study, this course will examine some of the particular considerations to take into account when working with donors and dealers, partnering with peer or related institutions, and engaging with communities we serve. The week will feature a combination of discussions, guest lectures, and research exercises, the latter of which will result in a final project that focuses on an initiative, event, or other activity that the student aims to realize after the end of the course.

Course History

Cheryl Beredo and Kevin Young co-teach this course, as "Developing and Interpreting African American Special Collections."
Lucious Edwards, Jr. and Michael Plunkett co-teach this course, as "Developing Collections of African-American Materials."
Lucious Edwards, Jr. and Michael Plunkett co-teach this course, as "Developing Special Collections of African-American Materials."
This course is cancelled for Summer 2020.

Course Resources

  • Advance Reading List
  • Evaluations for this course:

Related Courses


  • Cheryl Beredo
  • Kevin Young

Cheryl Beredo

Cheryl Beredo is Curator of Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library. Before coming to NYPL, she was Director of the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives at Cornell University. She has previously held positions at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America and the Massachusetts Historical Society, where she worked on the New England Environmental History Initiative. She has served on numerous boards and advisory groups for a variety of organizations and initiatives, including the American Labor Studies Center, International Association of Labor History Institutes, Triangle Fire Coalition, Association of Research Libraries, Society of American Archivists, and Rare Book School. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Hawaii and an M.L.I.S. from the University of Pittsburgh, with a concentration in Archival Studies.

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Kevin Young

Kevin Young is the Director of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, newly named a National Historic Landmark, and Poetry Editor of the New Yorker. He is the author of thirteen books of poetry and prose, most recently Brown (2018), a New York Times Notable Book; Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995–2015 (Knopf, 2016), longlisted for the National Book Award; and Book of Hours (Knopf, 2014), a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets. His collection Jelly Roll: a blues (Knopf, 2003) was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

His nonfiction book, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News (Graywolf Press, 2017), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Nonfiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and named a New York Times Notable Book, a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” selection, and a “Best Book of 2017″ by many outlets. He is the editor of eight other collections, most recently The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton, 1965–2010 (BOA Editions, 2012) and The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink (Bloomsbury, 2012). Named University Distinguished Professor at Emory University, Young was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.

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