About the Center
James Brown dedicated his professional life to curating and expanding the Library’s collection of resources on the African American experience. Mr. Brown was a librarian here at the Library for 29 years, and held the titles of principal librarian and head of the African-American Room. After his untimely death at the age of 53, in 1991, the African American Room was renamed in his honor. Mr. Brown was especially committed to urging Newark youth to pursue education and to understand the importance of the Library’s role in their academic growth.
The Friends of the James Brown African American Room support the pioneering work of James Brown by raising funds to purchase more books, music, films, and reference materials, and enabling the Library to offer more programs and exhibitions. Together, the Newark Public Library and the Friends of the James Brown African American Room are working to achieve Mr. Brown’s vision to document, preserve, and foster the history, culture, and literary achievements of African Americans, and share it with everyone who uses the Library.
The James Brown African American Room has a collection that is principally for browsing and provides cross-disciplinary access to materials about African American life, history, and culture. Titles of current interest, classics, and standard reference sources are available. Reference, readers’ advisory, and programs are offered. Programs include the James Brown Memorial Lecture Series, Black History Month, Lorraine Hansberry Lecture Series, Malcolm X Remembered, W.E.B. Du Bois Reading Circle and Frances E.W. Harper Literary Society. The Newark Public Library specializes in African American studies.