CULVER CITY – Mayme Clayton Library and Museum officials are set to vote June 20 on whether to accept an offer from Cal State Dominguez Hills to house its revered collection of black films, photos, artifacts, documents and works of art.
Hanging in the balance is the fate of one of the largest collections of African-American history on the West Coast, observers say.
The university offered to receive, archive and house the valued collection last month after county officials evicted the museum from the old Culver City Courthouse, where the collection has been housed since 2006. County officials gave the museum until July 31 to vacate and offered to provide relocation assistance.
The eviction notice ignited a firestorm of controversy among many activists and observers who said the county’s action disparaged a cherished black institution. County officials countered that the museum’s rent-free lease expired 12 years ago and that it was time for museum officials to find a more appropriate location.
Mayme Clayton board member Steven Fisher said if the university’s offer is rejected, museum officials have “several alternatives” in the works. He would not say what they were.
The late Mayme Clayton, a librarian, collector and historian, amassed the collection over 40 years, believing that preserving and sharing African-American history was key to educating current and future generations about black achievements and culture.