In Memoriam: Charles Leroy Blockson, 1933-2023

Charles L. Blockson, curator emeritus of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University in Philadelphia, died at his home in Philadelphia on June 14. He was 89 years old.

A native of Norristown, Pennsylvania, Blockson was a graduate of Pennsylvania State University. He traveled the world and amassed a huge collection of more than 700,000 books, papers, photographs, newspaper articles, journals, sheet music, posters, artifacts, and memorabilia. His collection spans from 1581 to the present day. Among the most notable items are Harriet Tubman’s signed hymnal and the shawl that Queen Victoria presented to Tubman.

Blockson donated his collection to Temple University in 1984. That same year he wrote the cover story “Escape from Slavery: Underground Railroad” for National Geographic. He was the first African American to write a cover story for the magazine. Blockson authored 13 books on Blacks in Pennsylvania, the Underground Railroad, and the Haitian Revolution.

“Mr. Blockson is well-respected because of his passion for collecting, preserving, and disseminating the histories of people of African descent,” said Diane Turner, curator of the Blockson Collection at Temple University. “His collections make accessible rich and diverse stories about their histories and cultures. He has been a great influence on numerous scholars, students, and people of all nationalities.”

“No African American that I can recall has ever had an impact on the genealogical study of African people as Charles Blockson did,” added Molefi Kete Asante, Temple University professor and chair of the department of Africology and African American studies.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Winston-Salem State University and Wake Forest University Establish a Pathway Program for Aspiring Physician Assistants

Through their most recent collaboration, the physician assistant program at Wake Forest University will begin formally recruiting Winston-Salem State University students who meet admission requirements and have been recommended by Winston-Salem State University leadership.

Three African American Men Appointed to New Academic Positions

The three African American male scholars appointed to new roles are E. Albert Reece at the University of Maryland, Duane Watson at Vanderbilt University, and Steven Starks of the University of Houston..

Hampton University Launches Seven Online Degree Programs in Business and Theology

Historically Black Hampton University in Virginia has expanded its online offerings by launching a new one-year MBA degree and six degree programs from the School of Religion.

Angelo Moore Recognized for Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Cancer Research

The American Cancer Society has presented its annual Fredda Bryan National Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award to Angelo Moore, executive director of the Center of Excellence for Integrative Health Disparities and Equity Research at North Carolina A&T State University.

Featured Jobs