Two Community Treasures: Samuel F. Morrison and the African American Research Library and Cultural Center

February 22, 2024
(Left) Creation of the African American Research Library and Cultural Center was championed by former Broward County Library Director Samuel F. Morrison (shown on the right, between the Community Foundation's Sheri Brown Grosvenor and Nancy Thies). Samuel became a Community Foundation Fundholder in 2023.

The African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale is a treasured community gathering place where education, the arts and history come together to foster understanding and forge new connections.

Since opening in 2002 on historic Sistrunk Boulevard, more than 895,000 visitors have experienced exhibits and cultural programs, participated in computer technology classes, heard speeches from authors and international leaders, attended community functions and much more. Visitors also have access to more than 85,000 books, artifacts, photos, recordings and other important materials that tell the story of the African American experience.

This invaluable community resource exists thanks to the vision and dedication of Samuel F. Morrison, the former director of Broward County’s libraries. Under Samuel’s guidance, the library system grew to 38 branches and received the prestigious “Library of the Year” award in 1996. One of his top achievements was leading the push for the AALRCC – along with the fundraising effort required to make it a reality.

Broward County provided $5 million along with land for what was expected to be a $14 million project. Samuel and his fundraising team found the rest by rallying support from local businesses, philanthropists as well as churches, civic organizations, Broward residents and others who believed in creating the library and cultural center. A few months before retiring, Samuel was there to celebrate the opening of this cultural attraction that adds so much to our diverse and vibrant community.

Today, Samuel continues to give back to the community he loves by partnering with the Community Foundation of Broward for his local philanthropy. In 2023, he created two charitable funds at the Community Foundation: the Samuel F. Morrison Community Impact Fund and the endowed Samuel F. Morrison Education Fund.

We are proud to shepherd and grow Samuel’s charitable funds and to find innovative, strategic opportunities for his support to transform lives and shape a brighter future for Broward. Through the power of endowed giving, the impact of Samuel’s philanthropy – like the library and cultural center he helped launch – will carry on for generations to come.

Community Foundation Support for AARLCC

Philanthropy through the Community Foundation helps bolster the mission of the AALRCC. Grants made possible by our Fundholders have supported AALRCC literacy and arts programs. That includes an arts residency program for five emerging artists, which culminated in a 2022 Art and Activism Festival showcasing artwork that explored themes such as discrimination based on race or sexual orientation. Through new paintings, dance, photography, music and more, the arts residency program and festival harnessed the power of the arts to engage and inspire Broward residents – exploring community challenges and encouraging solutions.

Learn More

To find out how you can create a legacy of lasting impact by partnering with the Community Foundation, contact Vice President Kelly Marmol at or 954-761-9503.

Foundation in the News

More News




Saving Scarlett
August 31, 2018
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again.