Civil Rights

Mickalene Thomas,  Jet Blue #25 (detail), 2021

Mickalene Thomas' Dazzling Collages Reclaim Black Women's Bodies

A four-part exhibition premiering this fall showcases the contemporary artist's multimedia portrayals of Black femininity

In 1946, Lynwood Shull, police chief of Batesburg, South Carolina, brutally blinded U.S. Army veteran Isaac Woodard (pictured here with his mother). An all-white jury acquitted Shull of the attack in just 28 minutes.

After Victory in World War II, Black Veterans Continued the Fight for Freedom at Home

These men, who had sacrificed so much for the country, faced racist attacks in 1946 as they laid the groundwork for the civil rights movement to come

“The history of racial violence is often erased and highly contested in the battle to define American memory," says the museum's director Anthea Hartig, "and this vandalized sign demonstrates the ramifications of ongoing efforts of remembrance and social justice."

Smithsonian Displays Bullet-Riddled Sign That Documented Emmett Till's Horrific Murder

A month-long exhibition invites conversations addressing ongoing racism in America

Josephine Baker's remains will be reinterred at Paris' Panthéon on November 30.

Performer Josephine Baker to Be First Black Woman Buried at Paris' Panthéon

The talented entertainer, activist and spy will be the fifth woman accorded one of France's highest honors

Anne Frank pictured at school in Amsterdam in 1940

New Education Center Dedicated to Anne Frank Debuts in South Carolina

The space is the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank House's only official outpost in North America

Martin Luther King Jr. speaks to members of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), including Rosa Parks (front row, center). Parks' arrest in December 1955 sparked the group's formation.

History of Now

Church Where MLK Launched His Civil Rights Career to Become a Museum

The young pastor assumed a leadership role in the Montgomery bus boycott during a 1955 meeting at Mt. Zion AME Zion Church

The Olivewood Cemetery in Houston, Texas, is at risk of flooding and erosion. Newly announced grants will help fund a drainage plan to prevent further damage to the graveyard.

National Trust Pledges $3 Million to Preserve Black History Sites Across the U.S.

A series of newly announced grants will support 40 African American landmarks and organizations

The statue is finally being unveiled this week after a seven-year fundraising effort and a three-year construction effort.

Women Who Shaped History

Chicago's First Monument to a Black Woman Will Commemorate Activist Ida B. Wells

Sculptor Richard Hunt designed the statue, which is called 'Light of Truth'

Visitors explore during a sneak preview of the newly renovated Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Museum in Independence, Missouri. The $29 million expansion took 2 years to complete.

At the Harry Truman Library and Museum, Visitors Get to Ask Themselves Where the Buck Stops

Interactive exhibitions pose questions about the decision to drop the nuclear bomb, the Red Scare, Truman's foreign policy and more

Early Juneteenth celebrations featured picnics, rodeos, horseback riding and other festivities.

Juneteenth, the U.S.' Second Independence Day, Is Now a Federal Holiday

June 19, 1865, marked the end of slavery in Texas and, by extension, the Confederate states

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.

Innovation for Good

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

The mini museum is housed on the first floor of an Oakland, California, house whose exterior is decorated with a mural honoring the women of the Black Panther Party.

Mini Museum Honoring the Black Panther Party Will Debut on Juneteenth

A pop-up exhibition dedicated to the Black power organization is set to open in Oakland, California, on June 19

One of the Smithsonian Institution's most visited artifacts is the 209-year-old Star-Spangled Banner, the inspiration for the National Anthem.

A New Summer Tradition, a Three-Week 'Civic Season,' Asks Americans to Reflect on the Past and Future

Museums are inviting Americans to embrace the national story from its sins to its successes as a stepping stone towards a better future

Picket signs carried by protestors at the White House and Independence Hall in Philadelphia,1960s

Smithsonian Voices

The Most Radical Thing About Stonewall Wasn't the Uprising

Much of the staying power of Stonewall’s reputation rests upon the Pride marches that began on the first anniversary a year later

Lisa Marie Thalhammer holds her original LOVE poster with her mural in the background.

Smithsonian Voices

This D.C. Muralist Finds Pride and Power in Public Art

It’s important for her to be part of the national conversation says Lisa Marie Thalhammer

During the 1860s, Chinese laborers dug extensive tunnels through the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Eleven Endangered Historic Places That Tell Complex American Stories

The National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2021 list includes Mississippi hotel, Navajo trading post and California railroad tunnels

Immaculate Heart College Art Department, c. 1955

Women Who Shaped History

Studio of 'Pop Art Nun' Corita Kent Saved From Becoming Parking Lot

The artist's brightly colored silkscreen works addressed civil rights and social justice issues

Artist Kenny Altidor unveiled this Brooklyn mural of George Floyd in July 2020.

Remembering George Floyd and the Movement He Sparked

Kevin Young, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, reflects on the one-year anniversary of Floyd's killing

Organizer Quintavious Rhodes addresses Black Lives Matter protesters during a march in Stone Mountain Park on June 16, 2020. Activists have long called for Stone Mountain's carved relief of Confederate generals to be taken down.

History of Now

Georgia Approves Changes to Stone Mountain Park, 'Shrine to White Supremacy'

The site's board authorized the creation of a truth-telling exhibit, a new logo and a relocated Confederate flag plaza

From May 31 through June 1, 1921, white mobs murdered scores of African Americans and ransacked, razed and burned homes, businesses and churches in Tulsa's Black community of Greenwood.

Remembering Tulsa

Reflections on the Artifacts Left Behind From the Tulsa Race Massacre

Objects and documents, says the Smithsonian historian Paul Gardullo, offer a profound opportunity for reckoning with a past that still lingers

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