National African American Archives and Museum

National African American Archives and Museum
Davis Avenue Branch, Mobile Public Library
The National African American Archives and Museum in 2008.
National African American Archives and Museum is located in Alabama
Location: 564 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
MobileAlabamaUnited States
Coordinates: 30°41′43.12″N 88°3′3.71″W / 30.6953111°N 88.0510306°W / 30.6953111; -88.0510306Coordinates: 30°41′43.12″N 88°3′3.71″W / 30.6953111°N 88.0510306°W / 30.6953111; -88.0510306
Built: 1931
Architect: George Bigelow Rogers
Architectural style: Classical Revival[1]
Governing body: Private
NRHP Reference#: 83003459[1]
Added to NRHP: 22 December 1983[1][2]

The National African American Archives and Museum, formerly the Davis Avenue Branch of the Mobile Public Library, is an archive and history museum located in Mobile, Alabama. It serves as a repository for documents, records, photographs, books, African carvings, furniture, and special collections that all relate to the African American experience in the United States.[3]


The Davis Avenue Branch of the Mobile Public Library was built in 1931 to serve the needs of the local African American community.[4] The building was modeled after the Ben May Main Library but constructed on a smaller scale. The local African American community helped collect used books for the library and raise funds for the acquisition of new books. This reflected the social reality of segregation, when African Americans were prevented from participating fully in educational endeavors and were provided with separate educational facilities. Following desegregation, this branch library became a repository for government documents.[2] It was later reopened as the National African American Archives and Museum. The museum building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by noted architect George Bigelow Rogers.[5]


Exhibits include the "History of Colored Carnival" that details the African American contribution to Carnival and Mardi Gras.[3] Also, the "Slavery Artifacts" exhibit features authentic displays of shackles, leg irons, slave collars, slave bracelets and slave badges from before the time of the Emancipation Proclamation.[3] On a more localized note, the museum also features artifacts representing the numerous contributions African Americans have made to greater Mobile.[5] It chronicles the voyage of the last known illegal slave ship, the Clotilde, which docked in Mobile in 1860 and led to the establishment of Africatown.[5] Mobile's African American community has produced such famous personalities as baseball legend Hank Aaron and U.S. Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, who both are represented in the museum's collection.[5]


  1. ^ a b c ""Alabama: Mobile County "". "National Register Historic Places". Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  2. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. no date specified. 
  3. ^ a b c ""Itineraries: National African-American Archives Museum"". "Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau". Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  4. ^ Thomason, Michael. Mobile : the new history of Alabama's first city,pages 201-202. Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, 2001. ISBN 0817310657
  5. ^ a b c d ""National African-American Archives Museum"". "Soul of America".,1740,0,0,1,0. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 

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