Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture A museum that seeks to understand American history through the lens of the African American experience. Welcome to our page! Please feel free to share thoughts about our posts, ask us questions, or tell us about your visit.

We hope you’ll contribute to this interactive forum and to our ongoing conversation about the work we do to further the Smithsonian's mission to increase and diffuse knowledge. While on-topic discussion is encouraged, we ask that you express yourself in a civil manner and treat other users with respect. The Smithsonian also monitors posts on Facebook consistent with its policy at http://si.edu/Termsofuse#user-gen, and reserves the right to remove content in accordance with its Terms of Use. Finally, be aware that Facebook is a third party website with its own terms of use and privacy policy. The Smithsonian does not control Facebook’s collection, use, or dissemination of information. To protect your privacy, do not include any personally identifiable information (PII) that you do not wish to be made available to the general public. To protect the privacy of others, please do not post any PII without the express permission of the person involved. In addition, the Smithsonian may archive materials posted on this website pursuant to its document retention policies. By posting content, you are giving the Smithsonian and those authorized by the Smithsonian permission to use or modify it for any educational, promotional, or other standard museum purpose, in media of all kinds whether now known or later developed. Any data that users post on this site or that the Smithsonian collects from this site is subject to our terms of use and privacy policies which can be found at: http://www.si.edu/termsofuse/ and http://www.si.edu/privacy/. Facebook terms of use: https://www.facebook.com/policies?ref=pf

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Operating as usual

Ma Rainey was a vocalist, songwriter, comedienne, producer, and theatre manager. She was a pioneer who collaborated with...
03/24/2021

Ma Rainey was a vocalist, songwriter, comedienne, producer, and theatre manager. She was a pioneer who collaborated with some of the most notable musicians of her time. Her contributions continue to influence contemporary music today. #HiddenHerstory

Hattie Leeper, known across the airwaves as “Chatty Hatty,” broke ground as an early African American female disc jockey...
03/24/2021

Hattie Leeper, known across the airwaves as “Chatty Hatty,” broke ground as an early African American female disc jockey in 1948. Leeper, began her radio career at WGIV in Charlotte, North Carolina as a 14-year-old office gopher, but quickly reorganized the station and took to the microphone. Leeper said she was given a test opportunity to record and came up with the signature line: “This is WGIV Charlotte NC, 1600 top of the dial where listening is always worth your while!”

Leeper worked as an on-air personality for 18 years and became so popular that celebrated artists like Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, and Marvin Gaye, asked her to join their recording sessions to write liner notes. She also worked at stations WRPL and WAYS and became the chair of the broadcasting department at Gaston College. Hattie Leeper was an inductee into both the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Black Radio Hall of Fame. She details her rise to in the broadcast field in her autobiography, Chatty Hatty: The Legend. #HiddenHerstory

Smithsonian
03/23/2021
Smithsonian

Smithsonian

In response to the eight people—seven of them women, six of Asian descent—killed last week in Georgia, we offer educational resources to increase understanding and deconstruct systemic oppression. Our statement and materials from across the Smithsonian:

03/22/2021
Smithsonian

Smithsonian

Mothers and caregivers, led by activist Ruby Duncan, blocked a quarter-mile section of the Las Vegas Strip to fight against unjust cuts to welfare benefits.

#BecauseOfHerStory #WomensHistoryMonth

Join @NMAAHC's Making African America Virtual Symposium conversation by sharing your story related to immigration throug...
03/19/2021

Join @NMAAHC's Making African America Virtual Symposium conversation by sharing your story related to immigration through the museum's online Community Curation platform at nmaahc.si.edu/MAA #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory

Through their achievements in the dramatic arts, African American women have broken barriers, enriched American culture,...
03/19/2021
Five You Should Know: Black Actresses Who Refused to Be Typecast

Through their achievements in the dramatic arts, African American women have broken barriers, enriched American culture, and inspired audiences around the world.

In celebration of women’s history month, we’ve highlighted five black actresses that transcended typecasting. Their award-winning performances provided representation for black women across the country and opened doors for women everywhere.

Five You Should Know: Black Actresses Who Refused to Be Typecast: s.si.edu/3vGDVdY #HiddenHerstory

Through their achievements in the dramatic arts, African American women have broken barriers, enriched American culture, and inspired audiences around the world. Over time, the roles that black artists played on the stage and screen reflected changing aspirations, struggles, and realities for women....

We're talking about black immigration in history this Friday. From the Student Organization for Black Unity to African L...
03/17/2021

We're talking about black immigration in history this Friday. From the Student Organization for Black Unity to African Liberation Day, these buttons represent the solidarity amongst black global communities. Join us for Making African America, a virtual symposium that will discuss how black immigration has impacted American history and culture. Register for free at nmaahc.si.edu/MAA #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory

📷:1. Pinback button for the Student Organization for Black
Unity (SOBU), mid-20th century. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. 2. Pinback button promoting Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, late 20th century. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. 3. Pinback button promoting African Liberation Day, 1977. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Journalist Joy-Ann Reid grew up watching political news broadcasts. Though the field lacked people who looked like her, ...
03/14/2021

Journalist Joy-Ann Reid grew up watching political news broadcasts. Though the field lacked people who looked like her, Reid found inspiration in barrier-breaking black journalists Gwen Ifill, Deborah Roberts, and Carole Simpson. #HiddenHerstory

#HiddenHerstory Do not miss Historically Speaking: A Women’s History With Ruth E. Carter. The renowned costume designer ...
03/13/2021
Historically Speaking: A Women’s History With Ruth E. Carter

#HiddenHerstory Do not miss Historically Speaking: A Women’s History With Ruth E. Carter.

The renowned costume designer discusses her sartorial and visual aesthetic in films—among them Do the Right Thing, Black Panther and Coming 2 America.

From Brooklyn to Wakanda and Zumanda, Carter will describe what drives her personal inspiration, creativity and vision in in a special conversation moderated by Robin Givhan, the Washington Post’s senior critic-at-large. Admission is free; however, registration is recommended. #WomensHistoryMonth

Spotlighting the amazing breadth of her work, renowned costume designer Ruth E. Carter discusses her sartorial and visual aesthetic in films—among them Do the Right Thing, Black Panther and Coming 2 America. From Brooklyn to Wakanda and Zumanda, Carter will describe what drives her personal inspir...

So much of our American art, music, and culture comes from black immigrants like midcentury modernist designer Art Smith...
03/12/2021

So much of our American art, music, and culture comes from black immigrants like midcentury modernist designer Art Smith, Jamaican American writer and poet Claude McKay, and Brazilian ballet dancer Ingrid Silva. Join the Making African America symposium and participate in the conversation. Learn more about black immigrants influence on American history and culture and register at nmaahc.si.edu/MAA #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory

📷: 1. Custom-colored toe shoe worn by Ingrid Silva of Dance Theatre of Harlem, 2013–14. Manufactured by Capezio. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the Dance Theatre of Harlem 2. "Three Hole" brass cuff by Art Smith, 1946-1979. © Estate of Art Smith. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

03/12/2021
#HiddenHerstory Cicely Tyson

Cicely L. Tyson (1924-2021) was born and raised in Harlem to immigrants, parents from the Caribbean island of Nevis. Tyson began her stage career performing Off-Broadway in the 1950s. Her Broadway debut took place in 1959 in the play Jolly’s Progress, when she served as understudy for Eartha Kitt. In 1951, she landed her first television role in NBC’s Frontiers of Faith.

Tyson went on to lead a dynamic acting career becoming involved in over 100 roles in various movies, television shows and live theater. She broke barriers as the first African American star of a TV drama series playing the character Jane Foster in East Side/West Side in 1963. Tyson was nominated for two Emmy awards for her roles as iconic historical figures Coretta Scott King and Harriet Tubman in 1978.

It was important to Tyson to use her fame to fight for civil rights, break tradition and defy expectations not only for herself, but for others who encountered similar challenges. While encouraging Black actors and actresses to refuse roles that demeaned Black people, she helped popularize the Afro hairstyle, inspiring other Black women to follow their own beauty standards.

Tyson earned success by upholding her own standards, only accepting roles that not only meant something to her but were significant to the Black community and shared the untold story of African Americans. #HiddenHerstory

Actress, comedienne, human rights activist and "The View"  moderator, Whoopi Goldberg carved out a unique career in Holl...
03/11/2021

Actress, comedienne, human rights activist and "The View" moderator, Whoopi Goldberg carved out a unique career in Hollywood that reflected her unconventional style. She is one of only 15 artists in history who have achieved an EGOT- winning all four major American awards for professional entertainers: Emmy, Grammy, Academy Award, and Tony Award. Whoopi Goldberg earned a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her role as Celie in The Color Purple. Based on the novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple was one of the first Hollywood movies to focus on the experiences of black women.

In 2003, Whoopi Goldberg played the lead role in a Broadway revival of August Wilson’s play, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Part of Wilson’s Century Cycle, the play debuted on Broadway in 1984, and presents a fictionalized day in the life of blues singer Ma Rainey and her band. #HiddenHerstory

During the 1970s, Oprah Winfrey was part of the first wave of African American women hired as television newscasters. Wi...
03/10/2021

During the 1970s, Oprah Winfrey was part of the first wave of African American women hired as television newscasters. Winfrey’s preference for interacting with people eventually led her away from the news desk, and she found her true calling—and breakout success—as a talk show host. She also continued pursuing her interest in acting, and landed her first role in a feature film, The Color Purple, in 1985.

While hosting A.M. Chicago in 1984, Oprah Winfrey caught the attention of Quincy Jones, who was producing a film adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple. She was cast in the role of Sofia, a woman who refuses to submit to abuse from her husband and white society. The film, directed by Steven Spielberg, also starred Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Margaret Avery, and earned 11 Academy Award nominations. While representing a breakthrough in Hollywood roles for black women, The Color Purple also drew criticism for its negative portrayals of black men and for the selection of a white man to direct the film. #HiddenHerstory

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Welcome to our page! Please feel free to share thoughts about our posts, ask us questions, or tell us about your visit. We hope you’ll contribute to this interactive forum and to our ongoing conversation about the work we do to further the Smithsonian's mission to increase and diffuse knowledge.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. While on-topic discussion is encouraged, we ask that you express yourself in a civil manner and treat other users with respect. The Smithsonian also monitors posts on Facebook consistent with its policy at http://si.edu/Termsofuse#user-gen, and reserves the right to remove content in accordance with its Terms of Use. Finally, be aware that Facebook is a third party website with its own terms of use and privacy policy. The Smithsonian does not control Facebook’s collection, use, or dissemination of information. To protect your privacy, do not include any personally identifiable information (PII) that you do not wish to be made available to the general public. To protect the privacy of others, please do not post any PII without the express permission of the person involved. In addition, the Smithsonian may archive materials posted on this website pursuant to its document retention policies. By posting content, you are giving the Smithsonian and those authorized by the Smithsonian permission to use or modify it for any educational, promotional, or other standard museum purpose, in media of all kinds whether now known or later developed. Any data that users post on this site or that the Smithsonian collects from this site is subject to our terms of use and privacy policies which can be found at: http://www.si.edu/termsofuse/ and http://www.si.edu/privacy/. Facebook terms of use: https://www.facebook.com/policies?ref=pf Facebook privacy policy: https://www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation

Share your visit with us! #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory

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