Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the commitment of $8 million for improvements to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. The funding, which is being administered through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, will enable the refurbishment of the building façade, replacement of windows and roof, and will allow for safety enhancements and energy-saving improvements. DASNY will also provide design services and construction management for the project. This announcement comes during Harlem Week, an annual celebration of Harlem’s wide ranging culture and history.
“With this funding, we’re not just giving this building a face lift; we’re making a critical investment in our history and culture,” Governor Hochul said. “For nearly a century, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has acted as a library, a research institution, a community hub, and above all, a space to celebrate Black people in America. This Harlem Week, I remain committed as ever to supporting great institutions like the Schomburg Center that honor Black New Yorkers’ rich contributions to our city, our state, and our country.”
“African American history speaks directly to the heart of America’s commitment to democracy and the struggle to perfect our union,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “It’s critical that we preserve the rich history that lives within the walls of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center, one of the world’s leading institutions of black culture and history, so that we may always stay grounded in our collective purpose as a nation – to achieve liberty and justice for all.”
One of the New York Public Library’s renowned research libraries, the Schomburg Center is a world-leading cultural institution devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.
Founded in 1925 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center is a research division of The New York Public Library and features diverse programming and collections spanning over 11 million items that illuminate the richness of global Black history, arts, and culture including books, manuscripts, sheet music, photographs, artworks, video and audio recordings and more. Established with the foundational collection of Puerto Rican-born Black scholar and bibliophile, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, the Schomburg Center has collected, preserved, and provides access to materials documenting global Black history. In 2025, the Schomburg Center will celebrate its centennial anniversary.
DASNY President and CEO Reuben McDaniel III said, “DASNY is proud to support the Schomburg Center’s critically important work and its standing as a premier center for Black life in New York and the world. The Schomburg Center, as a project highlighting Black culture and experience, is a quintessentially New York institution. On behalf of my Harlem neighbors, we are grateful for Governor Hochul’s continued commitment to making New York the cultural center of the world.
State Senator Cordell Cleare said, “I am heartened by the Governor’s commitment to the people of Harlem and to the Schomburg. Our beloved Schomburg is the literal embodiment and repository of the entire history of Black People in the world. The essential funding announced today will ensure that future generations will have full and unfettered access to the Schomburg—a singular source of continued inspiration, knowledge and history.”
State Senator Robert Jackson said, “The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the most critical institutions in New York, illuminating the richness of global black history, arts, and culture. I commend Governor Kathy Hochul for the commitment of $8 million for improvements to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. A focal point of Harlem’s cultural life, this investment will help one of the world’s leading cultural institutions continue to function as the leading national research library in the field of African American and African Diasporic studies.”
Assemblymember Inez Dickens said, “I have worked long and hard with the New York Public Library and am proud to see the Schomburg get the recognition and funding it so absolutely deserves. Thank you, Governor Hochul, for addressing the need to preserve this delicate, this strong, this towering garden that has served as the epicenter of African diaspora for people across the world.”
Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre said, “I want to thank Governor Kathy Hochul for her $8 million award for the Schomburg Center that will allow for many necessary upgrades and safety enhancements. The Schomburg Center is an extremely important institution for Black history, culture, and programming. This investment will allow the Schomburg Center to continue being a renowned library for years to come.”
Assemblymember Eddie Gibbs said, “The exterior of Harlem’s own Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture should be as beautiful and resilient as the culture held inside of it. I applaud Governor Kathy Hochul for this significant investment in renovations to the Schomburg Center. Ensuring a better future for New York is impossible without remembering Black history and celebrating Black culture.”
Assemblymember Manny De Los Santos said, “The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is essential in celebrating the diversity of our upper Manhattan community. Thank you, Governor Hochul, for providing the funding to help ensure this iconic New York Public Library location can continue to serve New Yorkers for years to come.”
New York City Council Member Chi Ossé said, “The Schomberg Center is a gem. It is among our city’s most important institutions and its home should boldly reflect that. Black history is the history of America’s foundations and its builders. Its continued study and exploration at the Center is a perpetual gift to the Black community and to all New Yorkers, and I am thrilled to see an investment elevate the structure to match the esteem of the work within. I commend and thank Governor Hochul for this commitment; New York and the nation will reap the benefits for years to come.”
New York Public Library Chief Operating Officer Iris Weinshall said, “The New York Public Library and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture are deeply grateful for Governor Kathy Hochul’s award of $8 million in capital funding to the Schomburg in this year’s budget. This capital grant is an investment in futureproofing this important institution as it celebrates another century of providing access to the world’s knowledge in Black diasporic history.”
Schomburg Center Director Joy Bivins said, “Governor Hochul’s award to the Schomburg Center will support us as we envision our future and continue to be a world-class institution devoted to the preservation and exploration of Black diasporic history. This contribution is vitally important as we continuously strive to provide our patrons and staff with the best environment possible to research, learn, work, and discover.”