About the Woodson Reference Collection

Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) was an educator and philosopher, mentor to African-American scholars, and the journalist and founder of the Association of African American Life and History. He believed that it is necessary for a race to have a history or it will be made insignificant, and that the study of African-American history would make for a better society.

Initiated by Miss Gertrude McBrown and Mrs. Ruby A. Carter, officers of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, the Carter G. Woodson Reference Collection of African-American Culture and Life was dedicated at the Central Library in May 1968.

It has grown to be a more-than-4,000 volume reference collection covering different aspects of African-American culture and life. The entire Dewey subject range is included, and many volumes are duplicated in the regular circulating collection. The Woodson Collection is located on the main floor of the Central Library

The collection includes books about the African-American experience, with emphasis given to slavery, contemporary African-American life, collected biographies, slave narratives, the papers of Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., and Booker T. Washington, and subject bibliographies.

The materials relating to slavery cover its history and impact on African-American life; the contemporary items concentrate primarily on the Civil Rights Movement. Collective biographies include Who's Who Among Black Americans, The Negro Almanac, and Black Biography 1790-1950.

The thrust of the Woodson Collection is scholarly, and is aimed at high school students, college students, researchers, and others with research needs.

Those who are interested in the Woodson Collection may also be interested in the Academic Onefile and General Onefile online databases, which are available on the Research Databases section of the Queens Public Library website. These databases includes full-text digital resources that explore the history and culture of African Americans.

Another great resource available to library customers is the Black Heritage Reference Center, located at the Langston Hughes Cultural Center and Community Library.