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This collection contains archival materials and rare books related to Alfred and Bernice Ligon as the proprietors and founders of The Aquarian Bookshop and Aquarian Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, CA; their interests in African American history and culture; and studies and teaching of metaphysics, occultism and black gnostic studies. The archival collection concentrates on the operations and events of the Book Shop, curriculum of the Spiritual Center, and African American culture. The rare book collection focuses on African American history and culture; literature and poetry by black authors; Africa and pan-Africanism; and metaphysics, the occult, spirituality, and gnostic studies. Included in the collection are published books and periodicals, small press poetry books and chapbooks, manuscripts, pamphlets, ephemera, newspaper clippings, administrative papers, photographs, film negatives, cassette tapes, film and audio reels, VHS tapes, and digital media.
Alfred and Bernice Ligon were the founders of the Aquarian Spiritual Center, metaphysical studies scholars and teachers, owners of the longest running black owned book store in the country at the time of its closing, and community leaders. Alfred was born on April 5th 1906 in Atlanta, Georgia, and moved to Chicago at the age of ten. There he worked as a printer, performed as a clown, and managed a Theater and school. Alfred’s interest in the metaphysical began in the 1920s listening to Evangeline Adams' radio show on astrology, and he later founded the Society of the Circle of Nine focusing on divine science and philosophy. In 1936 he moved to Los Angeles to study with The Brotherhood of Light and Esoteric Studies, and Marc Edmond Jones’ Sabean Assembly. In Los Angeles he worked as a railroad porter and managed a dancing school with his sister Jeni Le Gon. Around this time he read a version of the bible called The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ, which became the foundation for his philosophy and the inspiration for the name of the book store. In 1941 he opened the Aquarian Book Store and Library on East Jefferson Ave in Los Angeles with $100 he saved working as a railroad porter.
53 boxes [30 linear ft]
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.