Before the 1960s many museums, like the media and schools, generally ignored or demeaned African American history and culture. Individual black collectors had preserved objects that documented black achievement and experiences, but there were few public displays of this material. Then several black museums opened in cities including Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit. In 1969, leaders of several...
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Educator and civil rights activist, Septima Poinsette Clark, is best known for her role in developing Citizenship Schools during the 1950s and 1960s. Clark was a teacher in South Carolina who lost her position after refusing to renounce her membership in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Eventually, Clark secured a job working at Tennessee’s Highlander...
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In 1851, several black abolitionists invaded a Boston courtroom and rescued a fugitive slave, Shadrach Minkins. In the year prior, the Fugitive Slave Act was enacted by Congress. The law made it a requirement to arrest any persons suspected of being a fugitive slave. This poster is an example of the fear faced by many formerly enslaved and fugitive slaves of potential slave catchers.

Shadrach...
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We're proud to have welcomed 1,000,000 visitors to experience American history through the African American lens! Learn more about our mission and vision: nmaahc.si.edu. #APeoplesJourney

Have you visited? Share your favorite moments with us in the comment section!

Photo Credit: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC.
“Lift Every Voice” and Sing was initially a piece of poetry written by James Weldon Johnson in 1899. The first public performance of the piece took place in Jacksonville, Florida at the Edwin M. Stanton School, to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Five years later Johnson’s brother, John Johnson, put music to the words.

It was one of many songs they produced to counter...
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"Amid Christian influences I was surrounded by an atmosphere of business, and a spirit of self-help that seemed to awaken every faculty in me and cause me for the first time to realize what it means to be a man instead of a piece of property." -Booker T. Washington

Hampton Institute was founded in 1868 by the American Missionary Association to provide education to freedmen. Located in...
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Oprah Gail Winfrey is a media mogul, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist.

#OnThisDay in 1986, “The Oprah Winfrey Show" became nationally syndicated. The show aired for 25 seasons from 1986 to 2011 and remains the highest-rated American talk show ever. In 2011, Winfrey launched her own television network, the “Oprah Winfrey Network” (OWN).

Explore our Oprah objects:...
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NEW BLOG: Five Things To Know: HBCU Edition

The first colleges for African Americans were established largely through the efforts of black churches with the support of the American Missionary Association and the Freedmen’s Bureau. The second Morrill Act of 1890 required states—especially former confederate states—to provide land-grants for institutions for black students if admission was not...
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#OnThisDay in 1934, American Major League Baseball player Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron, is born in Mobile, Alabama. Nicknamed "Hammer," or "Hammerin' Hank," Aaron holds many power-hitting record, including the most seasons as an All-Star player. In 1974, Aaron broke Babe Ruth's record of 714 home runs— finishing with a career total of 755. Despite the racial injustices he faced, he would go on to...
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“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” - Rosa Parks

Born on this day in 1913, Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was known as “the first lady of civil rights.” Her refusal to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger on December 1, 1955, sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and became an important...
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Jack Johnson is the first African American heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

Nicknamed the Galveston Giant, Johnson fought at the height of the Jim Crow era. Johnson went on to become one of the most dominant champions of his time, and remains a significant historical figure in American boxing history.

On this day in 1903, he beat Denver Ed Martin in a 20-round match, winning the...
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Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald collaborated on one of the most successful efforts to address the lack of educational opportunities for poor southern African Americans. They created the Rosenwald Fund, which provided architectural plans and start-up funds for one or two room schools. Communities had to implement the plans, raise additional funds, hire schoolteachers and make sure...
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NEW BLOG: 5 Things To Know: James Baldwin on Identity, Creativity, and Freedom

Born in Harlem, New York, August 2, 1924, James Baldwin was an essayist, novelist, playwright, poet, and social justice advocate. Baldwin is regarded as one of the foremost intellectual thinkers of the 20th century. One approach to examining Baldwin’s work and outlook is through the themes of identity, creativity...
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#OnThisDay in 1960, four African American students attending North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University staged the first sit-in in Greensboro, NC. Inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. and his practice of nonviolent protests, the Greensboro Four they would come to be called, wanted to change the segregational policies of Woolworth in Greensboro, North Carolina through their...
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Today we commemorate the start of Black History Month.

In February 1926, historian Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History” launched the celebration of “Negro History Week,” which would become known as Black History Month. Nearly a century later, the National Museum of African American History and Culture stands at 350,000 sq. feet at the heart of our nation’s capitol—...
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"There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free."
- Jackie Robinson

Born on this day in 1919, Jackie Robinson, is the first African American athlete to play Major League Baseball in the 20th century. Throughout his decade-long career, Robinson distinguished himself as a talented baseball player and a vocal civil rights activist. Robinson broke color barriers in...
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On this day, The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is passed by Congress, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude in America, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865. The joint resolution of both bodies that submitted the amendment to the states for approval was signed by President Abraham...
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On this day in 1870, Richard Theodore Greener becomes the first African American graduate of Harvard College. After graduating from Harvard, he went on to become the Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy at the University of South Carolina, where he was the university's first African American faculty member. Greener later moved to Washington, D.C. where he served as Dean of the Howard...
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James Richmond Barthé, commonly known as Richmond Barthé, was a notable sculptor among the many influential thinkers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s. Born on this day in 1901, Barthé moved to New York City after graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago. His sculptures realistically modeled African American subjects. Barthé famously sculpted the bust of artist Henry O....
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Mahalia Jackson is remembered as “The Queen of Gospel.” Jackson sang at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. King was inspired to give this partly improvised speech when Jackson, sitting behind him, passionately yelled, “Tell them about the dream, Martin! Tell them about the dream!”

Hear "The Queen of...
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Mahalia Jackson - Amazing Grace

The Queen of Gospel breaking down Amazing Grace.

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