The New York Public Library has chosen Kevin Young, a distinguished scholar and poet, to be the new director of its Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
The research library focuses on documenting and sharing black life, history and culture around the world. Regarding Young's appointment to head the library, NYPL President Tony Marx said, "The Schomburg Center is the world's pre-eminent institution for preserving and sharing the black experience, and Kevin Young's unique perspective and new leadership are certain to preserve and grow that rich legacy and history."
Young takes over the position from Khalil Gibran Muhammad, who recently stepped down from the post. Young grew up in both the Midwest and on the East Coast, a child of Louisiana-born parents. He received his bachelor's degree in English and American literature from Harvard University in 1992, had a Stegner fellowship at Stanford University and then received his Master of Fine Arts from Brown University in 1996.
"I am both honored and humbled to be entrusted with the directorship of the Schomburg Center, the world's premier repository for African-American culture and the African Diaspora," said Young. "I look forward to continuing the Schomburg Center's mission to expand access, acquire collections and promote the preservation and learning of black history and letters, all in the heart of historic Harlem."
Young is a National Book Award finalist for his collection of poetry, Jelly Roll: A Blues. He has published 11 books and edited eight others. He won the PEN Open Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. His volume of cultural criticism, The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness, was named a New York Times Notable Book. Additionally, his Book of Hours was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, according to the NYPL press release.
Aysha E. Schomburg, great-granddaughter of Schomburg Center namesake Arturo Schomburg, stated, "Kevin Young has demonstrated his commitment to advancing the legacy of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, as well as the capacity to grow the collections, exhibitions and scholarly programs at the center."
Read more at the New York Public Library.