Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center

100-01 Northern Boulevard
Davis Brody Bond

Now part of Queens Library, the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center was established in 1969 in response to local efforts to create a library and community center focused on the history and needs of the area’s African-American community. Local residents, including former Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, who served as the library’s first executive director before entering the political sphere, formed the Library Action Committee of Corona- East Elmhurst, Inc., which staffed the library from its opening until 1987 and is still responsible for operating the library’s Homework Assistance and Cultural Arts Programs. This purpose-built structure is the institution’s second home; its first was located in a former Woolworth’s department store on Northern Boulevard—the site of a civil rights struggle to break the color barrier for hiring in Queens. The library opened two years after Hughes’ death and includes a large collection of materials by and about the poet. The new building includes gallery, auditorium, research, archival and children’s spaces to hold its many performances, lectures and events celebrating black history and culture. The library is home to the Black Heritage Reference Center of Queens County, housing New York State’s largest public circulating collection of materials on the black experience, estimated at roughly 45,000 titles and including approximately 1,000 theses and dissertations on black literature. The institution is a touchstone in the community and an important reminder of the importance of advocacy and activism.