Civil Rights

The Cecil Williams South Carolina Civil Rights Museum preserves photographs and artifacts from the civil rights movement.

New Funding Will Help Highlight Five Black History Sites in the American South

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s $50,000 grants will support civil rights museums, a monument to victims of an industrial disaster and other organizations

Sidney Poitier, pictured here in 2006 at the Cannes Film Festival, died Friday, January 7. He was 94. 

How Sidney Poitier Rewrote the Script for Black Actors in Hollywood

Smithsonian curators reflect on the legacy of the late Poitier, who starred in 'In the Heat of the Night' and 'Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner'

The Moores' younger daughter, Evangeline, donated this locket and other personal artifacts to the Smithsonian in 2013.

This Locket Memorializes a Black Activist Couple Murdered in a Christmas 1951 Bombing

Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore attracted the KKK's ire for their tireless promotion of civil rights in the Jim Crow South

Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley, ca. 1953-1955

Race in America

Justice Department Officially Closes Emmett Till Investigation Without Bringing Justice

Authorities will not press charges after reviewing a second piece of key testimony from the 1955 murder

Aside from photography, James Van Der Zee was also a gifted musician who played both the piano and violin.

The Met Acquires Archive of Work by Harlem Renaissance Photographer James Van Der Zee

Working with the Studio Museum of Harlem, the museum is preserving the photographer’s images of 20th-century Black life

Crews removed the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from its perch in Charlottesville, Virginia, in July 2021. Controversy over the statue's fate sparked the violent "Unite the Right" rally in 2017.

History of Now

Charlottesville's Robert E. Lee Statue Will Be Melted Down, Transformed Into New Art

Officials in the Virginia city approved a bold plan for the future of the Confederate monument

Muhammad Aziz (center) stands outside of a New York City courthouse with members of his family and lawyers on November 18, 2021.

History of Now

Two Men Wrongfully Convicted of Killing Malcolm X Are Exonerated After 55 Years

Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam, who each served more than 20 years of a life sentence, had always maintained their innocence

In October, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History displayed this vandalized, bullet-ridden marker—one of three placed at the Mississippi site where, in 1955, police found the body of 14-year-old Emmett Till.

Why Museums Are Primed to Address Racism, Inequality in the U.S.

Smithsonian leaders discuss how the Institution can be a powerful place for investigating and addressing society’s most difficult issues

Claudette Colvin, pictured here in 1998, recently filed a request to have her arrest record expunged.

Claudette Colvin, Who Was Arrested for Refusing to Give Up Her Bus Seat in 1955, Is Fighting to Clear Her Record

The civil rights pioneer pushed back against segregation nine months before Rosa Parks' landmark protest but has long been overlooked

In the aftermath of the Civil War, more than four million newly freed Blacks sought fulfillment of the promises laid out in the U.S. Constitution. Says Kinshasha Holman Conwill, NMAAHC's deputy director: "The shadow of Reconstruction is a long shadow." (Above: Lewis "Big June" Marshall carries the flag during the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965.)

America Is Still Reckoning With the Failures of Reconstruction

A new NMAAHC book and exhibition examine the reverberating legacies of the post-Civil War era

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

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