By Melanie Eversley

The neighborhood that is the heart of Black Boston is celebrating a $17.2-million renovation of a library as a result of a collaboration with residents.

The Roxbury branch of the Boston Public Library underwent the 27,000-square-foot redo last year, but the reopening was delayed because of the pandemic. Boston officials, including acting Mayor Kim Janey, who is Black, celebrated the opening of the library branch in Roxbury’s Nubian Square on Saturday. 

“Libraries are so much more than the books they carry,” Janey said of the facility that now includes a Black author collection space and a community room. “They are an urgent community resource,” she said.

Almost 57 percent of Roxbury’s 60,000 residents are Black. Late civil rights leader Malcolm X, late singer Donna Summer, Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan and Edward Brooke, the first Black American elected to th U.S.Senate in the 20th century, all lived in Roxbury at some time in their lives.

The Great Migration drew droves of Black Southerners to Roxbury in the 1940s and 1950s. Immigrants from the Caribbean joined them. 

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