On April 18, 2019 Los Angeles County commenced legal proceedings against the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, an important collection of rare books, films, documents, photographs, artifacts and works of art related to African American history and culture that has been in the old courthouse at on Overland Avenue in Culver City since 2006.
The County leased the courthouse to the city. Culver City then sublet the courthouse to the Museum, with the understanding that the arrangement was for a year only. Until that time, the collection had been housed in a private garage.
The county’s legal action comes 12 years after the Museum’s rent-free lease expired, and six months after the Museum rebuffed one final opportunity to remain in a portion of the old courthouse while completing a relocation plan.
The County has been working with Museum officials to potentially identify partners that can help to properly preserve the collection for future generations.
The Museum is currently in talks with Cal State University at Dominguez Hills.
“This collection is one of the premier assemblages of African American ephemera, documents and historic memorabilia west of the Mississippi,” CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D. said. “We would be honored to give it a home and are confident that the librarians at CSUDH can preserve and present the collection in such a way that protects valuable and delicate items for posterity.”
George O. Davis, executive director of the California African American Museum in Exposition Park, said, “The Mayme Clayton Museum should take advantage of every opportunity to preserve its collection, and to think outside the box to ensure that future generations can appreciate its historic and cultural significance.”
Once vacated, the old courthouse will undergo extensive renovations.