Special Collections offers African-American and FAMU history

Special Collections is housed on the fourth floor of Coleman library.
Photo submitted by Kalen Johnson.

The Meek-Eaton Black Archives isn’t the only place on Florida A&M University’s campus where students can be enriched from a trove of African American history.

Students can visit Special Collections, located on the fourth floor, Room 403, of Coleman library.

This special room sits just around the corner from the Heritage Room that houses limited editions and historical resources that are symbolic to FAMU's history as well as to African American life and culture. This museum-like room is located in Room 412A, in the fourth-floor annex.

“I love that our university provides multiple streams of discovering our prestigious history,” said criminal justice major Ebony Wilson.

Special Collections’ current collections include the African-American, Emily A. Copeland, and FAMUAN collection.

Upon entering, visitors are immediately greeted with a painting of Frederick S. Humphries, the eighth president of FAMU, whose tenure is referred to the as the “Humphries Years.” It trumpets a time of groundbreaking growth and achievement.

The library holds 30 editions of “Who's Who Among African Americans” by Gale Group. These books provide biographical and career details on notable African-Americans.

FAMU alumna Nechelle Davis said, “Organizations I was involved with during undergrad held meetings in Special Collections. One day, I thought to look around and see what books the room held. The rest was history. Up until I graduated, I became a regular visitor. I studied and read books that I found interesting.”  

Also available in this room is the works of Richard Robert Wright Jr., civil rights advocate and editor of The Christian Recorder, the oldest periodical published by African Americans in the United States and is dated before the Civil War.

A section of the library honors renowned poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, displaying photos from various moments in her life. Included in the display is a plaque with one of her quotes, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do.”

Senior library technical assistant Carla Thomas said, “This room is very special. Students will be surprised to learn more in-depth details of our university’s history.”

The FAMUAN collection consists of newspaper clippings, journal articles, and pamphlets by and about FAMU alumni and employees.

This collection also includes FAMU catalogs that resemble bibles dating back to years as early as 1971. These books include courses, photos and information on the university of the particular year.

Special Collections is open to students Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.