Charles L. Blockson in his home office, 1971

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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.

Avi Wolfman-Arent is co-host of Studio 2 and a broadcast anchor on 90.9 FM. He was previously an education reporter with WHYY, where he's worked since 2014. Prior to that he covered nonprofits for the...