The Center for African American Studies Library was established in 1969. Its purpose was to provide specialized reference and information services to researchers studying African and African American history, culture and art. Students, Faculty and Staff donated time and materials building a rich collection of materials documenting African American communities. The library’s current collection consists of books, journals, multimedia and archives documenting the African, African American, and Afro Caribbean experience. The library was renamed the Ralph J. Bunche Library and Media Center in 2002.
The Library and media center has more than 8,000 books on African, Afro-Caribbean and African American history, literature and social and political issues.There are unique items in the collection that document lesser known civil rights struggles and early African American communities. Campus groups and local organizations donated their research and committee reports to the library, while independent authors and publishers donated books to the collection.
The Bunche Center subscribes to scholarly journals focusing on African American literature, history, and social issues. Students and researchers have access to several renowned journals such as Crisis and the Journal of Negro History. Other journals deal with multi-cultural issues in education and professional fields. In addition to scholarly journals, the library subscribes to popular magazines such as Black Enterprise and regional African American newspapers.
The Bunche Center has movies and music on VHS, DVD and CD available for students and researchers to use in the library. Please call or email for an appointment to access these materials.
The Bunche Center holds several manuscript collections. Jazz musician Kenny Burrell and activist/scholar Carlos Moore are two early donors. The Bunche Library and Media Center also acquires materials from campus and local groups such as UCLA’s African Student Union (ASU) and Association of Native Americans in Southern California (ANASCA).
The Bunche Center Library continues to build an archival collection that will support research in African American Studies now and in the future. We solicit and accept holdings created by and/or for activists, scholars, collectors, families, individuals, businesses, and groups that document African American experiences.
In 1970, then center director Arthur L. Smith (Molefi Asante) commissioned a 14-year-old Richard Wyatt, Jr. and his friend, Guillermo Anderson, to paint a mural representing black life and culture. The 7 by 9 foot mural was restored in 2010 and today hangs proudly outside of the Library and Media Center. For more on the creation of the mural, please visit UCLA Today.
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