Articles by Allison Keyes

The “Spirit of Tuskegee” hangs from the ceiling at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The blue and yellow Stearman PT 13-D was used to train Black pilots from 1944 to 1946.

The Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen Soars on the Wing of This World War II Aircraft

The 80th anniversary of the first Black flying unit is a time to recall the era when military service meant confronting foes both at home and abroad

Two-time medalist Rafer Johnson donated the metal torch he used to light the Olympic Flame at the Los Angeles games in 1984 to the National Museum for African American of History and Culture.

Breaking Ground

Olympic Decathlon Medalist Rafer Johnson Dies at 86

He was the first African American athlete to light the cauldron that burns during the Games

To help people enter into conversations "in ways that are fruitful," says Spencer Crew, the interim director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, a new online portal "Talking About Race" is now available.

How to Have That Tough Conversation About Race, Racism and Racial Identity

The Smithsonian’s African American History Museum debuts the online teaching tool “Talking About Race”

Documents from the Smithsonian's "Jogbra, Inc. Collection" include the company's marketing and advertising materials (above).

How the First Sports Bra Got Its Stabilizing Start

It all began when three frustrated women sought the no-bounce zone

AMA #WCW by Dada Khanyisa, 2018

How the Heroes of Africa Triumphed Against All Odds

At the African Art Museum the inspiring stories of 50 individuals from the continent are honored in classical and contemporary works of art

American jazz musicians Charlie Parker, on alto sax, and Thelonious Monk, on piano, perform at the Open Door Cafe, in New York City on September 14, 1953.

The Long Journey of Charlie Parker’s Saxophone

The newly acquired instrument, played by the father of bebop, is on view at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

The descendants of Cudjo Lewis and Abache (above) heard stories of the ship that tore their ancestors from their homeland and now the wreck of the Clotilda has been confirmed to be found in Alabama's Mobile River.

The 'Clotilda,' the Last Known Slave Ship to Arrive in the U.S., Is Found

The discovery carries intense personal meaning for an Alabama community of descendants of the ship's survivors

The Emily Howland photo album containing the portrait of Tubman, (above: detail, ca. 1868) was unveiled this week at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

A Previously Unknown Portrait of a Young Harriet Tubman Goes on View

"I was stunned," says director Lonnie Bunch; historic Emily Howland photo album contains dozens of other abolitionists and leaders who took an active role

The museum's new display takes a look at the implied expectation that women will always take care of the housework.

Women Who Shaped History

In the Home, a Woman’s Work Is Never Done, Never Honored and Never Paid For

Two historic firsts at the American History Museum; a woman steps into the director’s seat and a new show examines the drudgery of housework

A $3.5 million renovation at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum includes an outdoor multi-functional plaza and community garden. The museum will reopen in mid-October.

Anacostia Community Museum to Close for Renovations, but Will Tour Its Current Show With Pop Ups Across the City

D.C. Public Library will partner with the museum to bring you "A Right to the City," which takes a deep look at gentrification and its impact

With elaborate coiffures and scarves and ceremonial garb, all the way down to beautifully designed sandals and the tinkling of gold bracelets, Senegalese women usefashion for sociopolitical and economic ends as well as celebrating their own history.

In Senegal, Female Empowerment, Prestige and Wealth Is Measured in Glittering Gold

The African Art Museum's new exhibition delves into a tradition that is both ravishingly beautiful and hauntingly fraught

Armenian shadow puppetry is a technique whose origins can be traced to the 1300s. The puppet theater group known as Ayrogi has set out to keep this imaginative art form alive.

Armenia

Illuminating the Shadowy Art of Armenian Puppet Theater

Tricksters and beasts dance across the imagination in these silhouetted puppet shows

In 2013, Winfrey was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Oprah's Undeniable Influence on American History Recognized in New Smithsonian Exhibition

The National Museum of African American History and Culture follows Winfrey's life, from her roots in rural Mississippi to her success as a cultural phenom

Tenant associations lead a march up Columbia Road N.W. in protest against threats of eviction at a time when land speculation and residential displacement were growing more common in the Adams Morgan neighborhood and across Washington, D.C.

A New Show About Neighborhoods Facing Gentrification Offers a Cautionary Tale

As cities face multi-billion-dollar developments, the question remains “Who Owns the City?”

Charles Syphax was among the slaves taken to George Washington Parke Custis’ plantation in Arlington, Virginia. He ran the dining room at the huge mansion known as Arlington House (above), which still stands on the grounds of the cemetery.

How the African-American Syphax Family Traces Its Lineage to Martha Washington

Resources at the African American History Museum deliver a wealth of opportunity for genealogical research

"Now," says the American Indian Museum's director Kevin Gover (right with Lonnie Bunch, director of the African American History museum) "some of these institutions are able to produce excellent scholarship that tells a vastly different story from what most Americans learn.”

Two Museum Directors Say It’s Time to Tell the Unvarnished History of the U.S.

History isn’t pretty and sometimes it is vastly different than what we’ve been taught, say Lonnie Bunch and Kevin Gover

Malcolm X by Copain, c. 1967

Is It Time for a Reassessment of Malcolm X?

A Smithsonian Channel film, "The Lost Tapes," challenges misconceptions about the charismatic leader

Frederick Douglass, ca. 1875

Frederick Douglass’ 200th Birthday Invites Remembrance and Reflection

This Douglass Day, celebrate an icon’s bicentennial while helping to transcribe the nation’s black history

In 1968, at Resurrection City, a multicultural, multi-racial people shaped a campaign of hurt and hope out of a tumultuous year, including the war in Vietnam, and the assassinations of King and Robert F. Kennedy.

Deeply Grieving MLK’s Death, Activists Shaped a Campaign of Hurt and Hope

At Resurrection City, an epic 1968 demonstration on the National Mall in Washington D.C., protesters defined the next 50 years of activism

The Contemplative Court at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Innovative Spirit fy17

In This Quiet Space for Contemplation, a Fountain Rains Down Calming Waters

One year after the Nation’s first black president rang in the opening of the African American History Museum, visitors reflect on its impact

loading icon