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Spelman College Receives Largest Donation of Books to Historically Black College

Atlanta-based liberal arts Spelman College has received 14,000 volumes of books in a gift, which is being considered the largest single donation of books given to any historically Black college.

Alphonse Fletcher University professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is also the director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, made the donation from his personal library.

The donated portion of 838 titles will be housed in a circulating collection of the library, while 512 titles will be kept in its archives research center.

“Spelman is honored to receive such a treasure from a scholar and luminary in the fields of African and African-American studies,” Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said.

“Throughout his career, Dr. Gates has been committed to ensuring that the presence of people of African descent is not overlooked in American history. This gift continues that effort and legacy, affording our students the opportunity to study their history and engage the world of the African Diaspora.”

The donated books primarily focus on the African-American experience and its African and Caribbean history, art, politics, and literature.

Gates said he made the donation to honor the achievements of Black women.

“Generations of African-American women and men have ‘made a way out of no way,’ as we all know, and binding us together and leading us have been the strongest and most brilliant Black women, who recognized and lived the importance of education as the gateway to knowledge, opportunity, and empowerment,” Gates said.

“I have made this donation to mark the achievements of Black women of past, present, and future generations, and specifically in honor of three generations of African-American women in own family,” he added.