The History of the Library
The History of this library dates back to 1950 when Reverend Ivory Mizell, a socio-civic activist and manager of the Dixie Court Housing Project was made aware that thez city’s only library did not provide services for Blacks. He made space in his office for a small lending library, solicited books, and with the help of the city the small library with a staff of one was opened in 1951 to serve the Black community.
In 1952, the city provided space for the library and its staff of one in a small one-room building at Sunland Park (now the Joseph C. Carter Park). From this modest beginning, the Northwest Branch of the Fort Lauderdale library system was opened in the old Zeno Building at 1107 Northwest Sistrunk Boulevard.
The services expanded and the staff increased to seven. In 1974 the library was renamed the Von D. Mizell Library. During this same time the Broward County Library system was established, including the Von D. Mizell Library.
In 1980, the Von D. Mizell Library was relocated to the Von D.The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center Mizell All Purpose Building, bringing a vastly expanded book collection and a staff of twelveThe unique feature of this library was the large collection of books written by and for the African Diaspora, which was housed in a separate space in the Von D. Mizell Library.
In 1995, Samuel Morrison, the Director of Broward County’s Library Division, presented plans to the county commission for a new Africa-American Research Library and Cultural Center to be located in the heart of the African-American community. The plan was approved and partially funded. Morrison was charged with raising the additional funds.
In October 2002, the 14 million dollar, 60,000 square foot facility was opened as the third of its kind in the nation to have extensive collections related to the unique blend of cultures in Broward County.
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© 2014 Friends of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, Broward County, Florida