The New Mexico Bicentennial Commission decision to create a medallion for the state bicentennial celebration was abandoned when it was suggested that Estevanico's face must be on the medallion. Estevancio was an African and led the first expedition to the Southwest, hence his nomination for the bicentennial medallion. However, those who opposed the idea reiterated anecdotes suggesting Estavanico's alleged strained relationship with the Native Americans he met on his expeditions. This refusal to honor Estavanico and the need to research the contributions and achievements of Black people in New Mexico, piqued researchers' interests to document the presence of Black people in the Southwest in general but New Mexico in particular. The Charlie Morrisey Research Hall was established in 1990, to respond to these research interests and needs.
The mission of the Research Hall is to become the Southwest's best repository of documents about Black people of the Southwest. The Research Hall's collections include rare books, rare manuscripts, rare magazines and other publications, old photographs, audio and video tapes, deeds and titles to lands, oral histories, and other archival artifacts which document the presence of Africans and African Americans in New Mexico specifically, and Southwest in general.
The Charlie Morrisey Research Hall organizes public lectures and panel discussions to address the presence in and the contributions of Africans and African Americans to the Southwest. Periodic exhibitions of rare photographs and artifacts are included in the activities of the Hall. The Research Hall was named after Charlesetta Charlie Morrisey. For further information please view her bio here.