Gwynedd’s Charles Blockson Recognized with 2016 Philadelphia Award

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Prominent African American historian, scholar, and author, Gwynedd’s Charles L. Blockson has been recognized with 2016 Philadelphia Award. (image via Philly.com)

83-year-old Gwynedd resident, Charles L. Blockson, has been honored with a 2016 Philadelphia Award for his lifelong mission to document the history of African Americans, write Martha Woodall and Jeff Gammage for Philly.com.

While the renowned African American historian, scholar and author of 12 books including “The Underground Railroad” is no stranger to awards, this one left him shocked and humbled.

“I have received many awards in my life, but this is one of the highest,” he said.


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Blockson’s selection was announced by the board of trustees of the Philadelphia Award. They will present the award during a ceremony at Temple University on May 25.

“I am incredibly humbled by this recognition, and thank the trustees for recognizing the value of preserving the record of people of African descent,” said Blockson.

Blockson, a Norristown native, found his passion for history at age 9 when a white school teacher told him that black people did not have history. His parents immediately dispelled this by telling him about numerous prominent African American women and men.

This led Blockson to gather one of the world’s largest private collections on people of African descent. His collection now includes over 500,000 books, documents, and photographs.

Read more about Blockson at Philly.com by clicking here.


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