Renowned collector to be celebrated during WPSU documentary advance screening

November 30, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The life work of a renowned activist, historian, author and collector of African-American artifacts will be celebrated during a special WPSU Penn State documentary screening event beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, at Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium.

“Holding History: The Collections of Charles L. Blockson” — a WPSU Penn State production — shares the stories behind Blockson’s rare African, African-American and Caribbean-American collections, which include books, magazines, photographs, manuscripts, sheet music, postcards, record albums and artifacts dating back to the 16th century.

The event — which is free and open to the public — will feature an advance screening of the documentary, a Q&A session with WPSU Penn State producer and director Cheraine Stanford, and a tour of the special collections room. Registration is required for the limited-seating event and will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis at wpsu.org/Blockson.

“The only way to improve ourselves is to understand people of all races — their history, their contribution to the country and to the world,” Blockson said in the documentary. “Knowledge belongs to the world and my experience with books … should be passed on.”

Blockson, a 1956 Penn State graduate and member of the University’s football and track and field teams, began collecting artifacts at 9 years old. In 1984, the Philadelphia-area native donated his first collection to Temple University before later endowing Penn State with a unique collection in 2008. The Charles L. Blockson Collection of African-Americana and the African Diaspora is located on the third floor of the Pattee Library.

The WPSU-TV premiere of “Holding History: The Collections of Charles L. Blockson” will air at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21. The documentary will be available at wpsu.org/Blockson following the premiere. 

  • WPSU Penn State
    IMAGE: WPSU Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 15, 2016