An exhibit at Emory University’s Woodruff Library will celebrate curator Randall Burkett and the African American collections of rare books, manuscripts, photographs and more that he helped acquire in his 21 years at the university, according to an Emory press release.
A driving force in curating the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Burkett and his colleagues “sought to ensure the African American voice is represented in the library’s collections and have given priority to African American-authored and African American-published materials.”
Burkett played a key role in some of Emory’s most important acquisitions, including the papers of Alice Walker and Pearl Cleage, historian Carter G. Woodson, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and more.
The Rose Library’s African American collections focus on six principal collecting areas: civil rights movements, black print culture, blacks and the Left, African American literature and the arts, expatriate literary and culture figures, and African Americans and sports.
The new exhibit, “Building Emory’s African American Collections: Highlights from the Curatorial Career of Randall K. Burkett,” opens Sept. 13 at the Woodruff Library, featuring items from those collections and Burkett’s stories of their discovery and acquisition.
“We have one of the most extensive archives of African American history and culture among major research universities,” Burkett said. “I’ve been fortunate to build relationships with wonderful people—authors, artists, leaders in their fields, and families—who were looking to place their papers with a library that would preserve them and open them to academic researchers and the public. And that place is the Rose Library at Emory.”