Temple University is holding a special memorial service on Tuesday to honor the life and legacy of prominent historian and scholar Charles L. Blockson who passed away in June, writes Valerie Russ for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
He started the collection in 1984 when he donated thousands of rare African American publications and other artifacts to the university. The catalog has over 700,000 books, documents, and photographs.
He is also a co-founder of the Philadelphia African American Museum and has contributed to the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution.
In 2010 prior to the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian in 2016, Blockson donated several personal items of Harriet Tubman including the silk and linen shawl Queen Victoria had presented to her.
He said, “My ancestors escaped with her and with William Still. They took them right across the river into Canada. I still have relatives in Canada.”
The memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at the Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad Street in Philadelphia.
Read more about the speakers and poetry and music planned for the memorial service at Temple University in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
More on the collections of Charles L. Blockson.