Black History Month

Prior to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, the thriving neighborhood of Greenwood, Oklahoma (seen here in 1920), was nicknamed "Black Wall Street."

Remembering Tulsa

How the Public Helped Historians Better Understand What Happened at Tulsa

A century after the massacre of a prosperous Black community, Smithsonian volunteers transcribed nearly 500 pages of vital records in less than 24 hours

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Remembering Tulsa

The Unrealized Promise of Oklahoma

How the push for statehood led a beacon of racial progress to oppression and violence

Studio family portrait, 1960–1970s, by Rev. Henry Clay Anderson

How the Smithsonian Can Help African American Families Research Their Ancestors

The National Museum of African American History and Culture offers service and tips for genealogy efforts

Smith, the first black American to earn a medical degree, was also a leading abolitionist and prolific writer. His alma maters included the African Free School #2 (bottom right) and the University of Glasgow (top right).

Race in America

America's First Black Physician Sought to Heal a Nation's Persistent Illness

An activist, writer, doctor and intellectual, James McCune Smith, born enslaved, directed his talents to the eradication of slavery

Left, a portion of the patent plan designed by Marie Van Brittan Brown and her husband Albert, right.

Women Who Shaped History

A Brief History of the Invention of the Home Security Alarm

A hardworking nurse envisioned a new way to know who was at the door

Many contemporaries argued that Black men had more than earned the right to vote through their military service in the Civil War.

Smithsonian Voices

How the Unresolved Debate Over Black Male Suffrage Shaped the Presidential Election of 1868

At the height of the Reconstruction, the pressing issue was Black male suffrage

Maggie Lena Walker

Smithsonian Voices

How Maggie Lena Walker Became the First Black Woman to Run a Bank in the Segregated South

Time to reclaim the legacy and success of the first Black woman in the nation to organize and run a bank in the segregated South

Satchel Paige pitches during warmups for Cleveland on August 30, 1948. Signed midway through the MLB season, Paige became the first African American to pitch in the American League.

Fifty Years Ago, Satchel Paige Brought the Negro Leagues to Baseball's Hall of Fame

One of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, the seemingly ageless wonder inspired awe among the public and his opponents

Informer William O'Neal (played by LaKeith Stanfield, seen wearing a beret in the foreground) provided the FBI with information used to plan Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton's assassination (portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya, standing with hand raised at the podium).

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind 'Judas and the Black Messiah'

Shaka King's upcoming film dramatizes Black Panther leader Fred Hampton's betrayal by an FBI informant

Jim McDowell holds his jug, “Emmett Till.”

Smithsonian Voices

How a Pioneering Ceramicist Is Using Pottery to Reclaim Black History

Jim McDowell, known to many simply as “the Black Potter,” is a ceramicist who specializes in a craft with deep connections to lost histories

The Chicago Children’s Choir is also celebrating Black History Month through song with its annual concert, but this time on a digital stage: Facebook Live.

Virtual Travel

Celebrate Black History Month With These Free Virtual Events

From online exhibitions to panel discussions, here are more than a dozen events hosted by museums and other cultural institutions

Famed illustrator Thomas Nast designed this celebration of emancipation, with Abraham Lincoln inset at the bottom, in 1865

Black Lives Certainly Mattered to Abraham Lincoln

A look at the president's words and actions during his term shows his true sentiments on slavery and racial equality

Featured in the museum's first temporary exhibition, the Fisk Jubilee Singers introduced spirituals to audiences around the world.

A New Museum in Nashville Chronicles 400 Years of Black Music

The culmination of two decades of planning, the National Museum of African American Music opened its doors last month

HBCUs have consistently enrolled more black women than men every year since 1976. As of 2018, those women comprise 62 percent of students.

How America's HBCUs Produced Generations of Black Women Leaders

Take a deep dive into the Smithsonian's artifacts and archives to explore the legacy of America's historically Black colleges and universities

In honor of Black History Month, Etsy debuted nine online stores featuring work by Gee’s Bend quilters (including Doris Pettway Mosely, who is pictured here).

Thanks to Etsy, You Can Now Purchase a Gee's Bend Quilt Online for the First Time

The Alabama community of women quilters launched nine new Etsy stores in honor of Black History Month

A group of freed African American men along a wharf during the Civil War.

How to Tell 400 Years of Black History in One Book

From 1619 to 2019, this collection of essays, edited by two of the nation's preeminent scholars, shows the depth and breadth of African American history

Sergeant Major William L. Henderson and hospital steward Thomas H.S. Pennington of the 20th U.S. Colored Troops Infantry Regiment, as photographed by W.H. Leeson

How Photography Tells the Story of the Civil War's Black Soldiers

A new book by scholar Deborah Willis features more than 70 photos, as well as letters, journal entries and posters

This month's picks include The Ravine, Four Lost Cities and The Three Mothers.

Books of the Month

Civil Rights Icons' Mothers, Lost Ancient Cities and Other New Books to Read

These February releases elevate overlooked stories and offer insights on oft-discussed topics

Author, teacher and certified genealogical lecturer LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson will share best practices in using probate and other estate records to research enslaved ancestors.

Kick Off Black History Month With Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain and a Host of Other Events

Join Smithsonian's NMAAHC for book talks, kid programs, artist meetups and a STEM Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon

Gordon Parks, Boy With June Bug, Fort Scott, Kansas, 1963

Gordon Parks' Photos of 20th-Century Black Americans Are More Relevant Than Ever

An exhibition at NYC's Jack Shainman Gallery underscores the contemporary resonance of the photographer's work

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