Amistad Research Center a mecca of civil rights, racial history resources

NEW ORLEANS -- February is Black History Month, a month-long celebration remembering the important contributions that African Americans have made in our nation's history.

In honor of Black History Month, News with a Twist is featuring the people and places of New Orleans and beyond that helped to shape our community.

Today, it's the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University.

The Amistad Research Center is a library and an archival repository that collects, preserves and provides open access to original material relating to Civil Rights, America's ethnic and racial history and the African Diaspora, explained Anastacia Scott, an education specialist at Amistad.

The collections are composed of books and periodicals of family and personal records, organizational records, photographs, oral histories and works of art.

According to the research center's website, the Amistad Research Center was started in Nashville in 1966 by the United Church Boards of Homeland Ministries at Fisk University. It was established to house the historical records of the American Missionary Association.

It relocated to Dillard University in 1970, and then later moved to the old U.S. Mint building in the French Quarter in the early 1980s.

In 1987, it found its permanent home on Tulane University's campus.

At Amistad, you will find more than 800 collections, including: 

  • 15 million original manuscripts and rare documents ranging from the 1780s to present;

  • 2,000+ periodicals dating from the early 19th century;

  • 250,000 photographs dating from 1859;

  • 400+ oral histories by musicians, civil rights activists, writers, military figures and community members;

  • 400 works of African and African American art, including works by several internationally renowned 19th and 20th century African American masters;

  • 25,000+ monographs, books, articles and dissertations on the history of African-American and ethnic groups.

Our Black History Month series is brought to you by The King Firm.