Charles L. Blockson has collected Black history for most of his 83 years. Now, the collector has earned a new prize for his own keeping: the Philadelphia Award.
Blockson is the latest recipient of the nearly 100-year-old honor, which has been given each year to a local citizen who acts and serves on behalf of the community's best interests.
Blockson received the award Thursday at a ceremony in Sullivan Hall, the home of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection in the Temple University Libraries, where he is the curator emeritus.
He joins the ranks of notable denizens who have been bestowed the prestigious award that is also known as the region's Nobel Prize. The past honorees include Joan Myers Brown, Richard Watson, Kenny Gamble and Dr. Ruth Hayre.
"I am incredibly humbled by this recognition, and thank the [award] trustees for recognizing the value of preserving the record of people of African descent," Blockson said in a statement. "It caps a lifetime of dedication to collecting, conversing, reading and traveling the world in pursuit of uncovering the history of our past in order to build a better future."