The Contribution of Charles L. Blockson to African American History

386 words | 2 page(s)

Charles Blockson experienced a childhood incident that determined his career path and initiated his lifelong search to preserve the history of his people.

In the fourth grade, little Charles Blackson was told by his White history teacher that Negroes had made no impact history and had not impacted the world. This teacher said that Negroes were born to be servants of White people. These comments shocked him and he ran home to tell his parents, Charles and Annie Blockson, exactly what his teacher said. Subse-quently, his parents told him this people did have a strong history to be proud of and began telling him stories of important African men and women who were influential to their race.

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After learning that his great-grandfather, James Blockson, was a slave, Blockson started collecting African American artifacts in elementary school. And, he began asking questions about his great-grandfather’s 1859 escape from slavery in Seaford, Delaware (Temple University). This began his lifelong interest in the people and events of the Underground Railroad and became an expert on this important part of history. Later, he met historic figures who influenced African American history such as Marian Anderson, Paul Robeson, and Rosa Parks (Nzeribe).

When he reached adulthood, he traveled the world searching for evidences of history of prior African Americans, their type of culture, and their contributions to their people.

He became a writer and collector of artifacts that showed the breadth and depth of the impact of African Americans’ history. He amassed a person collection of 500,000 books, documents, and photographs, which he donated to Temple University of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Blockson). This collection is called the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection. He also donated other historical items African Diaspora at the Pennsylvania State University, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NAAMHC) at the Smithsonian Institution (Nzeribe).

One wrong history lesson for a young boy in elementary school impacted Charles Blockson so dramatically that he himself changed the knowledge history for African Americans and other people throughout the world. In a strange way, we owe gratitude to this history teacher who taught incorrect information to her students.

  • Blockson, Charles L, editor. Catalogue of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, . Temple University, 1990, www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/598_reg.html. Print.
  • Nzeribe, Eric. Charles L. Blockson. 8 June 2017,’funtimesmagazine.com/charles-l-blockson. Website.

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