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Center for Black Literature & Culture

The Indianapolis Public Library's Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots. If you have visited the CBLC or attended a CBLC program, please take our survey!

Center for Black Literature & Culture
Center for Black Literature & Culture Logo

Located in the R.B. Annis West Reading Room at Central Library, the Center for Black Literature & Culture is home to a 25,000+ item collection of books, CDs, magazines, movies, and research tools, all of which showcase black history and culture. This space is for ALL who are interested in exploring the rich heritage that has influenced nations across the globe. Visit us to browse our collections, join us for one of our signature programs, or explore our digital collections and website online. Tours are available by request.

The creation of the Center for Black Literature & Culture is made possible thanks to a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Programs & Featured Events

The CBLC regularly hosts authors, poets, and other programs throughout the year, and we hope you can join us! Recent favorites include workshops with poet and friend of the CBLC Adrian Matejka, African American Genealogy, Reparations 101, and more.

7th Annual Book Fest & Juneteenth Celebration

Saturday, June 15, 2024 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Central Library
This year's event will offer a glimpse into African American Art, literature, and storytelling. This year’s author presentation is showcasing African Americans & the Arts. We will be asking our authors to highlight works inspired by different representations of art in the African American community. Learn more about the day's performances and activities. Would you like to be a featured author at this event? Submissions for consideration will be accepted through May 26, 2024. Complete this application to be considered.

Hoosiers Reading Frederick Douglass Together

Annually in July
Central Library
Join us each year for a community gathering to read and discuss “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass. The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities started the program, Reading Frederick Douglass Together, to encourage families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to gather and read the speech aloud to help shape our understanding of freedom in American. If you are unable to attend a reading, you can read the text online. There is also a printable tip sheet, discussion guide, and page of helpful resources.

Center for Black Literature & Culture: The Power of Black Voices Website

Madam CJ Walker Glossine Hair Product

The Power of Black Voices website allows visitors to view 3D artifacts related to Black history, watch videos of local Black leaders such as Amos Brown and Tamika Catchings, learn more about influential literary figures like Mari Evans and Etheridge Knight, and view photo galleries that explore the history of local Black librarians.

1955 signed Crispus Attucks baseketball

This online collection includes artifacts, photographs, and articles in the categories: Black Literature, Indianapolis Black Heritage, Black Culture, Black Librarianship, and The African Diaspora. Explore the CBLC Power of Black Voices website.

Center for Black Literature & Culture e-Book & Audiobook Collection

You can download and stream e-books and audiobooks from the CBLC digital collection in OverDrive or in the Libby app with your Library card. If you have never borrowed from OverDrive before both app directions and browser directions are available as well as a video tutorial and Overdrive Support. Browse the CBLC digital collection.

Need help? Ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or call, text or email Ask-a-Librarian. The Tinker Station helpline at (317) 275-4500 is also available. It is staffed by device experts who can answer questions about how to read, watch, and listen on a PC, tablet or phone.

Murals for Justice Collection

In June 2020, local artists of color were commissioned to create murals from artwork originally created on the wood that was used to cover downtown Indianapolis windows amid that year's May protests of the police-involved killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Dreasjon Reed. The purpose of this commissioned work is to ensure this art was archived as a part of Indianapolis history. The Murals for Justice Collection is housed in the Center for Black Literature & Culture. Each mural is also available for checkout. Browse the Murals for Justice Collection.

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