Mon and Fri-Sat, 10am-6pm; Tue-Thu, 10am-8pm; Sun, closed
2, 3 at 135th St.
Coming of age during the Harlem Renaissance, this branch of the New York Public Library is dedicated to keeping the experiences of people of African descent alive. Situated near where Marcus Garvey preached African ideology, the collection has been combed through by trailblazers such as Langston Hughes and Richard Wright. The library still holds the original copy of Wright’s Native Son and a portion of Hughes’ ashes, which are buried beneath the Langston Hughes Atrium. Housed in the library are the American Negro Theater, where the likes of Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte honed their craft, and the 352-seat Langston Hughes Auditorium, which hosts musical performances, panel discussions, and film screenings. Past highlights have included a discussion with Nobel prize-winning writer Wole Soyinka, and talks by writers Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Adichie. For its 90th anniversary, the center opened an exhibition titled Black Life Matters, with documentary films, children’s books, letters, recordings, photographs, and other materials on display. Much of the more than ten million pieces (manuscripts, art, artifacts, rare books, moving image, recorded sound and photographs) held by the library are available only on a research basis, so booking a guided tour may be the best option.