Arturo Alfonso Schomburg – Facts, Life & Collection

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was an Afro-Puerto Rican historian who moved to the United States and spent his life collecting materials demonstrating the accomplishments of the African diaspora and the scope of Black history.

Who Was Arturo Alfonso Schomburg?

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was a historian, writer, researcher and curator. He amassed a personal collection of 10,000 items related to Black history and the African diaspora. This was transferred to the New York Public Library and became the starting point for today’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Schomburg was also a part of the Harlem Renaissance in the United States and a supporter of independence for his native Puerto Rico.

Early Life

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was born on January 24, 1874, in Santurce (then Cangrejos), San Juan, Puerto Rico. His mother, Maria Josefa, was a free Black woman from St. Croix in the Danish Islands (which would become the U.S. Virgin Islands). His father, Carlos Federico Schomburg, was a Puerto Rican of German descent.

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