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Hidden gems on Black history found in Emory University’s library

Hidden gems on Black history found in Emory University’s library.
Hidden gems on Black history found in Emory University’s library.(CBS46)
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 3:49 PM EST
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ATLANTA (CBS46) — Long after Black History Month ends, you can continue to discover amazing stories of African American resilience and innovation for yourself, inside a metro library on the Emory University campus.

The Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library houses thousands of hidden gems. One of them is a scrapbook from iconic African American entertainer Josephine Baker. Curator of the African American collections, Clinton Fluker turned some of the pages of the decades old leather bound book, telling CBS46, “this article is from march 16th 1939, when she made an appearance in Buenos Aires.” The scrapbook is meticulously organized and filled with newspaper clippings from the Baker who was also a civil rights activist.

“You read about major people in history, entertainers, activists, people who have really tried to create change in the world, and then you get a chance to actually hold something that was theirs,” Fluker says.

Fluker tells CBS46 he makes new discoveries everyday inside the library, “Most people don’t go to a library, which saddens me, because it’s so cool.” He says thousands of books, photographs and original works are accessible to anyone who requests them.

Fluker hand selected some of the most interesting items for CBS46, including handwritten notes by acclaimed African American author Alice Walker. Walker won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel, The Color Purple. It was turned into a movie in 1985. But Walker had another idea for a movie, that she wrote about in the 90s. “This was a piece where she was creating a vampire concept for a film,” Fluker says as he shows CBS46 Walker’s hand-written notes. “It was going to feature a woman in her 30′s who was a nuclear researcher,” he says.

The Rose library also has a sizeable Black comic book collection. “It was a Black-authored universe by Dwayne McDuffie, who was a major comic book creator and someone who is also behind a lot of the Saturday morning super hero TV shows, " Fluker says. With so much to offer, Fluker encourages everyone to visit saying, “you can only really imagine what is possible, you can’t really do it until you come in and see.”

These same documents along with thousands of photographs, literary works, and personal notes from African American, poets, authors and entertainers are available at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library inside The Woodruff Library on the campus of Emory University.

To find these black history items or set up an appointment, click here.