Today is the birthday of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg.

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (January 24, 1874-June 8, 1938), bibliophile, collector, writer, and a key intellectual figure in the Harlem Renaissance, spent his life championing black history.

Born in Puerto Rico to María Josefa, a freeborn black midwife from St. Croix, and Carlos Féderico Schomburg, a merchant of German and Taino heritage, Schomburg migrated to New York City in 1891.

Shortly after arriving, he co-founded Las Dos Antillas (The Two Islands), which sent aid for the independence cause in Puerto Rico and Cuba. Moving to Harlem and later Brooklyn, Schomburg is best known for his worldwide collection of literature, documents, manuscripts, and art and artifacts from and about the black world.The New York Public Library purchased his vast collection in 1926. Today, the Schomburg Center is home to 10 million items.