Clayton Library’s goal: preserving African American history. The Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum in the decommissioned Culver City courthouse has gone from being one woman’s personal mission to something of a miracle.
The first miracle is its 2 million items — second only to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York. Those items include 25,000 magazines, 20,000 books, 17,000 photographs, 1,000 pieces of sheet music, 700 films and 300 movie posters.
The second miracle: the library’s first annual budget of $500,000, paid staff of four, about 40 volunteers and, last month, more than 500 visitors.
But numbers don’t tell the entire story. Sandra Lindsey, a volunteer who discovered the library while working on her master’s in history at Cal State L.A., says: “Don’t come through the door if you don’t want to be hooked.”
Photo: Mayme Clayton talks about black history at the library-research center she founded in her garage. Clayton died in 2006. Credit: Los Angeles Times