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Relating to the African-American Experience

Black Resource Center going strong

2/19/2014, 12:27 p.m.
The Black Resource Collection in the North Portland Library is home to a vast collection of materials concerning worldwide black ...
North Portland Library Branch Manager Patricia H. Welch presents selections from the library’s unique Black Resource Collection. The compilation consists of over 7,000 materials, including various books, periodicals, films and music relating to the African-American and overall black experience. Photo by Mark Washington

The Black Resource Collection in the North Portland Library is home to a vast collection of materials concerning worldwide black culture. The compilation of items of over 7,000 materials-strong consists of various books, periodicals, films and music relating to the African-American and overall black experience.

The collection opened during the 1950’s after members of the city’s black community rallied for a library collection of black literature in north and northeast Portland that was more reflective of the area’s residents. A fund was setup by the community, and thereafter the Black Resource Collection was born.

The collection also contains reprints from the historically black institution Fisk University’s Library Negro Collection consisting of works penned about African Americans between 1800 and 1930; a resource not available anywhere else in the state of Oregon. Michael Powell of Powell’s Books donated the 385 volumes to the branch.

Most items from the Black Resource Collection remain available for the public to checkout.

This year, the North Portland Library, located at 512 N. Killingsworth St., is celebrating its 100th anniversary of serving the community. For more information about the library and its services, call the branch at 503-988-5394.