The Black Heritage Reference Center of Queens County (located as a part of the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center) houses New York City’s largest circulating Black Heritage reading collection, serving Queens County and beyond with a comprehensive reference and circulating collection totaling approximately 40,000 volumes of material about and related to Black Culture. Emphasis is given to those geographic areas where African Americans have lived in significant numbers, including West Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Canada and the United States.
The Center’s collection contains print and non-print materials including books, periodicals, theses and dissertations, microfilm and microfiche, CD-ROMs, databases, videos, CDs, audio cassettes, audio books, photographs, posters, prints, and fine art.
Collection Holdings Include:
- Adele Cohen Music Collection -- Contains musical setting of original works by Langston Hughes and set to music.
- Black Heritage Video Collection-- Contains an extensive collection of biographical, historical, geographic, dramatic, literary and instructional VHS and DVD videos by and about the Black experience. Special emphasis is given to acquiring original works created by independent video/filmmakers in the Diaspora.
- Langston Hughes Art Collection-- Contains a selection of prints, posters, paintings, African textiles, kente cloth and African sculpture. This is a non-circulating collection.
- Langston Hughes Collection--Circulating collection featuring print and non-print materials written by and about the prolific writer and poet laureate of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes.
Microfiche & Microfilm Collections:
- Amistad Research Center (ARC) Microfilm Collection--Contains the papers of Countee Cullen, Fannie Lou Hamer, Fredi Washington and Mary McLeod Bethune.
- Black Magazine Microfilm Collection-- Contains 13 prominent magazine titles dating back to 1916. The Index to Black Periodicals, also known as the Index to Periodical Articles By and About Negroes, supplements this collection.
- Black Newspaper Microfilm Collection-- Contains 26 titles of America’s foremost black publications covering 15 states. Over 1,400 reels of prominent newspaper titles are included, dating back to 1893. The Index to Black Newspapers accompanies the collection.
- Howard University Supplement--Contains Jesse E. Moorland (card) Catalog of Negro Life and History, v. 1-4.
- Records of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, 1895-1992--Parts 1 and 2
- Schomburg Clipping File--An extensive historical microfiche collection of periodicals, newspaper clippings, typescripts, broadsides, pamphlets, programs, book reviews, menus and ephemera of all kinds.
- Theses and Dissertations Collection-- Consists of more than 1,000 volumes of master theses and doctoral dissertations concerning Africans and African Americans in the Diaspora. The focus of the collection is on criticisms of works by Black writers, with special emphasis on the work of writer and poet laureate of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes.
Black Heritage Reference Center of Queens County Programs:
- Cultural Arts Program: Features film festivals highlighting works on the Black Experience by independent video/filmmakers, creative writing seminars and workshops, literature and poetry readings and discussions, open mic sessions, theatrical presentations and musical concerts.
- Africana History Lecture Series: Features informal lectures and discussions leading to the understanding, knowledge and wisdom relative to the study of Africana culture, history, philosophy, politics, socio-economics and spiritual development. Lectures concentrate topics relevant to the African Diaspora throughout Africa, the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, Europe, the Pacific Isles, etc. The Series is free and open to the public and features professors and published researchers.
The symbol of the Black Heritage Reference Center of Queens County is a Kwele wooden dance mask, from the Congo Brazzaville. It was selected for its special meaning. The turned down horns are locked in place to symbolize peace. The heart represents love.
Those who are interested in the Black Heritage Reference Center may also be interested in the online database--the African American Experience, which is located in the "Research Databases" section of the Queens Library website. This database includes full-text digital resources that explore the history and culture of African Americans.