The Schomburg, in Harlem, is looking sharp after an $11 million overhaul last year, and holds, among much else, 400 black newspapers, rare books and the original manuscript of “Native Son” by Richard Wright. On Feb. 4, it will open the Abyssinian Baptist Church Bicentennial Exhibition, examining the evolution of what, at the time of its founding, was the only African-American Baptist church in the state of New York.
Though it also has exhibition halls, the most attractive feature of the Library for the Performing Arts, next to Lincoln Center, is the free screenings and performances. Coming highlights include the Russian pianist Maxim Anikushin playing Beethoven and Schubert (Jan. 31) and the African-American historian Camille F. Forbes on the pioneering black comedian Bert Williams (Feb. 2).
And again, there’s the arts library’s intriguing collection. A random search through the card catalogue turned up a volume — a scrapbook, really — of 19th-century theater programs, just slightly crumbling, with a whiff of musty paper that no scanned image can evoke.
By Seth kugel for the Intenational Herald Times.com.
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