Note: This is the 13th installment of WCBS 880’s Black History Month series. For other articles, click here.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Arturo Schomburg’s teacher once told him blacks have no history.

But as WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving noted, Schomburg, a black Puerto Rican then in grade school in the late 19th century, knew better.

He emigrated to Harlem at age 17 and began to amass his rare book collection — 5,000 pieces bought by the New York Public Library in 1925.

“Arturo Schomburg believed fundamentally that evidence of the contributions that black people had made all over the world was the best weapon against white supremacist ideas,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, the largest repository of its kind in the world.