Gary N. Sudduth African American History and Culture Collection

Housed in the historic fireside reading room at Sumner Library in Minneapolis, the Gary N. Sudduth African American History and Culture Collection is a rich resource designed to support the interests of African Americans and all people interested in learning about African American history and culture.

The collection numbers more than 5,000 items and includes fiction, nonfiction and audiobooks for children, teens and adults. Items may be checked out.

Strengths of the collection include:

  • African background and cultural heritage of African Americans
  • Slavery
  • Free blacks
  • Antislavery movement and abolitionists
  • Emancipation and reconstruction
  • Discrimination
  • Civil rights movement
  • African American biography
  • African American fiction and literature

The collection was started at Sumner Library in the 1970s and named in Sudduth’s honor in February 1998. The Gary N. Sudduth Memorial Fund endows the Sudduth Collection for future generations. Contributions are welcome.

Gary N. Sudduth, 1953-1997

Gary N. Sudduth, a longtime Minneapolis Northside resident, was a widely respected civil rights leader, a champion of public libraries, and a strong believer in the importance and power of books and reading for all people, especially children.

Sudduth was an appointed member of the Minneapolis Library Board from 1980 until his death in 1997 at age 44. He served as president of the library board in 1991 and 1992, and was appointed by President Clinton to the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science in 1994.

As head of the Minneapolis Urban League, he was instrumental in organizing a cooperative effort between the Urban League and Minneapolis Public Library to motivate African American students to read more and improve reading skills.

Video overview

Elisha Sudduth, Gary Sudduth’s daughter, and other community members discuss the importance of this collection in this video from Hennepin County.

View the transcript of the “Gary N. Sudduth African American History and Culture Collection” video.