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Wed, 12.08.1976

The Mayme Clayton Library and Museum Opens

*The Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum (MCLM) opened on this date in 1976.  MCLM is committed to telling the story of the African American experience in all its variations: family life, arts and entertainment, history, sports, medicine, architecture, politics, religion, law, technology, etc.

The visionary, Dr. Mayme A. Clayton, established the Western States Black Research Center (WSBRC) because she believed that "children should know that Black people have done great things."  In 2007, the organization was renamed in her honor as a testament to her contributions and legacy. Dr. Clayton, a librarian, collector, and historian, believed preserving and sharing the often neglected and overlooked history of Americans of African descent was imperative for current and future generations.

For over 40 years, she independently and meticulously amassed a collection characterized as "one of the most academically substantial collections of Black literature, manuscripts, film, and ephemera independently maintained."  The collection was initially housed in the garage of Dr. Clayton's Los Angeles home. After years of serving as a bookstore and library for local adults and children, the collection was in danger of irreparable ruin. A campaign to rescue, relocate, and share the collection was organized in 2002 by Dr. Clayton's eldest son, Avery Clayton (1947-2009), an artist and retired educator. In 2006, shortly before Dr. Clayton passed away, a permanent home for her collection in Culver City, CA, was announced.

Since relocating to its current facility, tremendous efforts have been invested in strengthening its institutional capacity. Today, MCLM is an emerging, dynamic cultural institution dedicated to engaging multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-generational audiences about the diversity of the American experience through the lens of African American history and culture. The vast collection at the center of the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum results from one woman's passion for preserving Americans of African descent's history and cultural legacy.  



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