Martin Luther King, Jr.

Diane Nash, pictured in 2011, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday, July 7.

Women Who Shaped History

Meet Diane Nash, the Civil Rights Icon Awarded the U.S.' Highest Civilian Honor

The 84-year-old activist received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her leadership during the 1960s fight against segregation

After his shooting, a hospitalized Wallace holds up a newspaper touting his victories in the Maryland and Michigan Democratic presidential primaries.

How a Failed Assassination Attempt Pushed George Wallace to Reconsider His Segregationist Views

Fifty years ago, a fame-seeker shot the polarizing politician five times, paralyzing him from the waist down

Every wall, table and shelf in Elizabeth Meaders' three-story Staten Island home is crammed with pictures, posters, signs, statues, medals, sports memorabilia and military gear.

Women Who Shaped History

Why a Schoolteacher Spent 70 Years Collecting Thousands of Black History Artifacts

Elizabeth Meaders' acquisitions include sports memorabilia, civil rights posters, military paraphernalia and art

Established in 1949, the Freedom House in Boston once served as a meeting place for civil rights activists. Today, the nonprofit center continues its work to improve the lives of Black Americans and other marginalized groups.

Freedom House, an Iconic Civil Rights Hub in Boston, Is Set for Demolition

Nicknamed the "Black Pentagon," the building served as a meeting place for local racial justice activists

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

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

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

Martin Luther King Jr. and Reverend Ralph Abernathy are taken in for questioning by Birmingham police in 1962.

Cool Finds

Rare Birmingham Jail Logbook Pages Signed by MLK Resurface After Decades

Two sheets of paper from the Alabama prison where the activist penned a famous 1963 letter sold at auction for more than $130,000

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

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

A rendering of by Hank Willis Thomas' The Embrace, a public memorial set to be unveiled in the Boston Commons in October 2022

Monument to Coretta Scott and MLK Is Coming to Boston, City Where They Met

Hank Willis Thomas' sculpture of intertwined arms will memorialize the civil rights leaders and their fight for racial equality

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.

Commentary

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

Protestors march through the streets of D.C. during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody.

Race in America

158 Resources for Understanding Systemic Racism in America

These articles, videos, podcasts and websites from the Smithsonian chronicle the history of anti-black violence and inequality in the United States

Come to Your Census began as a campaign of events and posters like this one, featuring artwork by Emory Douglas.

This Art Campaign Wants You to Participate in the 2020 Census

Due to COVID-19, Art + Action's "Come to Your Census" project has pivoted from posters and events to social media and online outreach

Cars gather outside the Montgomery County, Alabama, jail as police begin bringing in religious and political leaders indicted in the bus boycott.

How Automobiles Helped Power the Civil Rights Movement

Montgomery bus boycotters had a secret weapon: cars

Peaceful protestors march down Constitution Avenue and the National Mall on August 28, 1963.

This Virtual Reality Exhibit Brings Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' Speech to Life

"The March" debuts on February 28 at the DuSable Museum in Chicago

By the time of his arrest in 1953, Rustin was profoundly committed to non-violent resistance.

Gay Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin Posthumously Pardoned in California

The openly gay Rustin was convicted during the 1950s under laws targeting LGBTQ individuals

The word "teetotaler" dates back to the temperance movement that preceded Prohibition.

Where Does the Word 'Teetotaler' Come From? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions, we've got experts

People marching to protest the murder of Rev. James Reeb.

Trending Today

NPR Identifies Fourth Attacker in Infamous Civil Rights Murder

William Portwood admitted his involvement in attacking minister James Reeb to reporters just weeks before his death

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Family Home to Open to the Public

The property was recently purchased by the National Park Foundation

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