Fort Lauderdale's African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) opened in 2002 and is a branch of the Broward County library system in south Florida. Part library, part archive, part history museum, part art museum, and part community center, the institution offers exhibits drawn from its collection of local history artifacts and items associated with Caribbean and African history. The center provides many normal library services to the local community, including a small business resource center. The institution also offers a research library and exhibits and programs that interpret and share Florida's rich African-American history and culture.
The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center is more than just another branch of Broward County libraries in southern Florida. The center offers traditional library services as well as exhibits of historical artifacts and works of art. The center is unique in its mission to not only serve the local community but also preserve and share the African American history of southern Florida and the Caribbean. The center also serves as an event center and small business incubator.
Samuel Morrison had the vision of creating the center after visiting a similar center in Atlanta. Morrison worked to promote his vision of a center dedicated to African American heritage in South Florida that would also offer assistance with life skills. Funds were appropriated for the center through donations and through funding from Broward County.
The Center is home to multiple art exhibits and special collections related to African American history, art, and literature dating from the early slave trade to the modern civil rights movement. The library includes a variety of collections related to black businesses, religious and civil organizations, artists, athletes, and musicians. For example, the Eric Rawlins Record Albums features over 6,000 albums ranging from Gospel, R&B, to Jazz. The Artwork and Artifact gallery of the Center features paintings, artifacts and sculptures by African American artists with an emphasis on Haitan, Caribbean, and Floridian history.