Cal State Dominguez Hills has signed an agreement with the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum board of directors to house its collection of African American history and culture on the school’s Carson campus, officials announced Wednesday.
The collection contains more than two million rare books, films, documents, photographs, artifacts, and works of art related to the history and culture of African-Americans in the United States, with a significant focus on Southern California and the American West.
The university intends to begin immediately cataloguing and archiving the collection so that it is more visible and accessible to the public. It will be housed in the Gerth Archives and Special Collections.
“Anchoring the collection at the CSUDH campus is a profound statement regarding the ability of a community entity to entrust a valued family heirloom to an institution of higher education,” CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham said.
“We are honored to announce this historic partnership, and look forward to collaborating with the MCLM board of directors to provide the public one of the most important collections of materials by and about Americans of African descent,” he said. “Owing to the social justice roots of the campus and its demographic makeup, we believe that there could be no better place or steward for the collection than this university.”
The collection had been housed since 2006 in the former Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse in Culver City.
The MCLM was originally founded by Dr. Mayme Agnew Clayton in 1975 as the Western States Black Research Center, which she had set up as a library for local residents in a renovated three-room garage at the rear of her home in the West Adams area.
Clayton, a university librarian, collector, and historian, amassed the collection over 40 years.
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