Revolutionizing Communities, Igniting Minds - One Learner at a Time!

Charles L. Blockson
A Treasure Keeper

Importance of Preserving History

Once upon a time in Norristown, Pennsylvania, a young boy named Charles L. Blockson found a deep love for stories, books, and history. But these were not just any stories – they were stories of African and African-American history, tales of brave men and women, and their journey told by them. Charles grew up to be a historian, an author, and a collector, but most importantly, a preserver of our history.

As he grew older, Charles’s love for history turned into a mission. He began to collect books, letters, art, and many other items that held the stories of African and African-American people. Over time, he gathered over 30,000 items. These were not just books but pieces of history that told tales of courage, resilience, and culture.

But Charles knew that these treasures were too important to keep to himself. He wanted to share these stories with the world. So, in 1984, he gave his collection to Temple University, which is now known as the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection. This collection has become a place where anyone can learn about the history and achievements of African and African-American people.

Charles Blockson teaches us that every book and every piece of history is a treasure. By preserving these treasures, we keep the stories of the past alive. It helps us understand where we come from and guides us to where we’re going.

So next time you pick up a book, remember that you’re not just reading a story. You’re holding a piece of history, just like Charles Blockson did.

Words To Know

Historian: A person who studies and writes about the past.

Author: A person who writes books, articles, or reports.

Collector: A person who gathers or acquires certain items based on a particular theme, interest, or category.

Preserver: A person who keeps something safe or intact. In this context, it refers to someone who maintains or conserves historical artifacts, documents, or knowledge.

African and African-American history: The history and experiences of people of African descent, both in Africa and in the diaspora, particularly in the United States.

Resilience: The ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.

Culture: The arts, customs, beliefs, and all other products of human work and thought shared by a group of people.

Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection: A collection at Temple University that includes over 30,000 historical items related to the global Black experience.

Temple University: A public university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Remember, the glossary is a tool to help you understand new or difficult words in the article. If you come across a word that you don’t know, look for it in the glossary, ask a teacher, or look it up in a dictionary! Happy reading!

Let's Talk About It Discussion Questions

1. Who is Charles Blockson, and why is he important?
2. What does it mean to preserve history, and why is it important?
3. Can you think of other ways we can preserve our history?
4. Why are books more than just stories?
5. How can you contribute to preserving your own history or that of your community?

3rd Graders:

1. Who is Charles Blockson, and what did he collect?
2. Why did Charles Blockson give his collection to a university?
3. What can we learn from Charles Blockson’s story?
4. Can you think of a time when you saved something because it was special?
5. Why do you think it’s important to keep and read books?

4th Graders:

1. Why did Charles Blockson choose to collect items related to African and African-American history?
2. What is the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, and why is it significant?
3. Why is preserving history important, and how does it help us today?
4. Can you think of an item or a story from your own family history that you would like to preserve? Why?
5. What is a way you can help preserve history in your community?

5th Graders:

1. What role did Charles Blockson play in preserving and promoting African and African-American history?
2. What makes the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection a valuable resource for learning?
3. How does preserving history help us understand our past and shape our future?
4. Discuss a historical event or person you think is important and why their story should be preserved.
5. How can you apply the lessons from Charles Blockson’s life and work to your own actions towards preserving history?

Extended Learning Activities

  1. Storybook Art: Draw a picture of Charles Blockson surrounded by his collection. What kind of items do you think he collected?
  2. Journal Time: Write a short story about a historical event or person that you think is important. Why should this story be preserved?
  3. Treasure Hunt: Find a book or object in your house that tells a story about your family’s history. Share the story with your class or family members.
  4. Landmark Explorer: Using Google Maps, find historical landmarks specific to Black history in your area. Look for images and street views of the landmarks, or if possible, visit the landmark in person. Write about the landmark, its historical significance, and discuss ways it can be preserved or improved. Share your findings with your classmates and listen to their discoveries. Everyone can offer new ideas about the landmarks they didn’t explore themselves. This activity helps us understand and appreciate the history around us and encourages us to think about how we can contribute to preserving this history for future generations.
🌟 Every Little Bit Counts! 🌟

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$2 bucks can make a big wave of change, there’s no such thing as ‘too little’ for our liberation!

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