Headlines of Yore

How Charles L. Blockson turned childhood disrespect into a mission to create Black history collections

He donated thousands of items to Temple University and Penn State.

Charles L. Blockson in his home office, 1971

Charles L. Blockson in his home office, 1971

Wikimedia Commons

💌 Love Philly? Sign up for the free Billy Penn newsletter to get everything you need to know about Philadelphia, every day.

Told as a child his heritage had no history worth learning, Charles L. Blockson made it his life’s mission to not only prove the statement horrifically wrong, but to make it harder for others to make the same bigoted pronunciations.

The Norristown native and Penn State grad passed up a career in professional sports to become a historian, amassing a huge collection of Black American memorabilia and artifacts.

He gifted the items to two universities — his alma mater and Temple — which both maintain special collections in his name.

Scroll through the thread below to read how Blockson worked to bring Black history to the fore.

Want some more? Explore other Headlines of Yore stories.

Let the news come to you

Billy Penn’s free morning newsletter brings you the latest Philly news that everyone will be talking about in your Slack channel.

Nice to see you (instead of a paywall)

Billy Penn’s mission is to provide free, quality information to Philadelphians through our articles and daily newsletter. If you believe local journalism is key to a healthy community, join us!

Did you hear that?

That was the sound of you being informed after reading another BP article. If you believe local information should be free and accessible to all Philadelphians, will you support Billy Penn today?

Informing Philadelphians, one story at a time

Your generous donation brought this article to life. Become a sustaining member today to continue Billy Penn’s work.

Bring a friend into the Billy Penn-verse

Thanks for reading another story! Know a fellow Philadelphian that would appreciate BP? Tell them about our newsletter.