The 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life stars James Stewart as down-on-his-luck George Bailey and Donna Reed as his wife, Mary.

What 'It's a Wonderful Life' Teaches Us About American History

The Christmas classic, released 75 years ago, conveys many messages beyond having faith in one another

Among the ways that the American History Museum has engaged visitors was the 2010 interactive play “Join the Student Sit-Ins,” starring actor Xavier Carnegie (above) at one of the iconic objects in the Smithsonian's collection, the Greensboro Lunch Counter, where on February 1,1960, four Black college students at North Carolina A & T University began a legendary sit-in for racial justice.

Why History Museums Are Convening a 'Civic Season'

History is complex, says the Smithsonian’s Chris Wilson; here's how to empower citizens with the lessons it offers

Based on newly discovered and declassified files, the film MLK/FBI by the acclaimed Emmy Award winning director Sam Pollard, tells the story of the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of King.

A New Film Details the FBI's Relentless Pursuit of Martin Luther King Jr.

Smithsonian scholar says the time is ripe to examine the man's complexities for a more accurate and more inspirational history

The lasting legacy of the Greensboro Four (above from left: David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Jibreel Khazan and Joseph McNeil) was how the courageous moment grew to a revolutionary movement.

Lessons Worth Learning From the Moment Four Students Sat Down to Take a Stand

One of the great monuments to the Greensboro Sit-In is at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Amazing Grace captivates, says the Smithsonian's Christopher Wilson from the National Museum of American History. It is 90-minutes of "living the genius of Aretha and the passion of the tradition she embraced and represented."

Aretha Franklin’s Decades-Old Documentary Finally Comes to Theaters in 2019

The 2019 nationwide release, 47 years after it was made, means audiences at last will see the Queen of Soul’s transcendent masterpiece

In Charlottesville, Virginia, city workers drape a tarp over the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Emancipation park to symbolize the city's mourning for Heather Heyer, killed while protesting a white nationalist rally in August.

We Legitimize the 'So-Called' Confederacy With Our Vocabulary, and That's a Problem

Tearing down monuments is only the beginning to understanding the false narrative of Jim Crow

Richard and Mildred Loving by Grey Villet, 1965

When the Serendipitously Named Lovings Fell in Love, Their World Fell Apart

The new film captures the quiet essence of the couples’ powerful story, says Smithsonian scholar Christopher Wilson

After the 2016 election, several hundred students at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, walked out of the classrooms in protest.

Finding Lessons for Today’s Protests in the History of Political Activism

A whirlwind of action, both organized and organic, supported by legal defense teams brought historic change

By the “dawn’s early light,” Key saw the huge garrison flag, now on view at the National Museum of American History, waving above Fort McHenry and he realized that the Americans had survived the battle and stopped the enemy advance.

Where’s the Debate on Francis Scott Key’s Slave-Holding Legacy?

During his lifetime, abolitionists ridiculed Key’s words, sneering that America was more like the “Land of the Free and Home of the Oppressed”

Studying Bacon Has Led One Smithsonian Scholar to New Insights on the Daily Life of Enslaved African-Americans

At Camp Bacon, a thinking person’s antidote to excess, historians, filmmakers and chefs gather to pay homage to the hog and its culinary renown

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