"My main goal in life is to build a good library of Black history — knowledge is a form of Black power and this is my part in it."

— Charles L. Blockson





 






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An African and Afro-American Collection

The Centre Theater Gallery is proud to announce its first powerful showcase:
The Charles L. Blockson Exhibition.

PURCHASE TICKETS
EXHIBIT HOURS:
M: PRIVATE*
T: PRIVATE*
W: PRIVATE*
T: PRIVATE*
F: PRIVATE*
S: 10AM - 5PM
S: 10AM - 5PM
*Private tours intended for groups/schools/corporate tours, please contact Development Director Jennifer Conti at marketing@thecentretheater.com

Admission is $10 for Adults (ages 13 and up), $5 for Children (ages 3 - 12), $5 for Students (a valid school ID is required), and $0 for Babies (ages 0 - 2).



Born in Norristown in 1933, Charles L. Blockson is world renowned for his expertise in Black genealogy and the Underground Railroad. His collection (featuring rare books, current periodicals, letters, photographs, artifacts and memorabilia) was amassed throughout his life-spanning career as a historian, bibliophile and author. The Charles L. Blockson Exhibition focuses on his life’s work in documenting the global Black experience through history. The exhibition at the Centre Theater is made possible by Mr. Blockson, Curator Emeritus, and The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University.



 

 

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CHARLES L. BLOCKSON EXHIBITION

PURCHASE TICKETS

From his early childhood in Norristown, Charles Blockson accumulated an incredible collection of rare materials documenting the story of African Americans. The historian and scholar is the author of 13 books, a Philadelphia Award recipient, and a leading expert on the Underground Railroad.

The Charles L. Blockson exhibition is a celebration of his life's work and will feature, among others:

  • Manuscripts from music artist Tupac Shakur
  • Memorabilia from Mr. Blockson’s youth
  • Images of rare books available at the Blockson Collection including The Underground Railroad by William Still
  • Photos by John W. Mosley, a self-taught Philadelphian photographer who chronicled black life in and around Philadelphia from the late 1930s to the late 1960s
  • “Men of Color” Civil War recruitment poster; issued in 1863, this promotion that urged African American men to enlist in the Union army was written by Frederick Douglass

Excerpt from a WPSU Penn State original production, this short-form documentary tells the story of Charles L. Blockson’s lifelong journey to unearth and preserve the history, culture, and contributions of people of African descent.
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"It is a special honor to have this exhibition in Norristown because it not only represents my life but the life of people of African descent, and the agony of enslavement and the ecstasy of freedom"
— Charles Blockson
 

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