Race and Ethnicity

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

"What’s Going On" was a turning point for Marvin Gaye.

Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' Is as Relevant Today as It Was in 1971

Fifty years ago, the artist released Motown's best-selling album ever and changed the course of his musical career

“We used five isotope methods in all to provide information on geology, coastal proximity, climate and diet,” says study co-author Richard Madgwick, an osteoarchaeologist at Cardiff University.

New Research

Ethnically Diverse Crew of Henry VIII's Flagship Hailed From Iberia, North Africa

New multi-isotope analysis illuminates early lives of sailors stationed on the Tudor "Mary Rose," including three born outside of Britain

This month's book picks include African Europeans, X Troop and Chasing the Thrill.

Books of the Month

African Europeans, Jewish Commandos of WWII and Other New Books to Read

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

A panel of the "Birthing Rock" petroglyphs in Moab, Utah, prior to its defacement with racist and obscene etchings

Racist Phrase Found Etched on Native American Petroglyphs in Utah

Unidentified criminals wrote "white power" and obscenities over thousand-year-old Indigenous markings on "Birthing Rock" in Moab

This drawing of a performance of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus has given scholars an understanding of how blackface was used in Elizabethan England.

Blackface Is Older Than You Might Think

From medieval European theater troupes to American minstrelsy, the harmful tradition has a surprisingly long history

Surgeon Ala Stanford takes a pause from testing while standing near one of her group's signs in North Philadelphia.

Covid-19

Meet the Black Physicians Bringing Covid Vaccines to Hard-Hit Philadelphia Communities

The Black Doctors Covid-19 Consortium is leveraging their medical expertise and connections to provide testing and vaccines where measures are most needed

Built in 1920, this Rosenwald School in Hertford County, North Carolina, was later acquired by the Pleasant Plains Baptist Church and has served as a community center and fellowship hall.

Lessons Learned

A photographic homage to a momentous education experiment

If you hike to the Minam River Lodge, thinking about the amazing food, including smokehouse bacon and foraged morels, may keep you going.

What a Vintage Guidebook Taught Me About Oregon's Past and Present

Our writer takes a quirky trip through Oregon, from a wilderness lodge to a Gilded Age saloon to a town hidden underground

Amy Sherald's posthumous portrait of Breonna Taylor serves as the Louisville show's focal point.

How an Art Exhibition in Breonna Taylor's Hometown Honors Her Life and Impact

The Louisville show is organized around three overarching themes proposed by Taylor's mother: promise, witness and remembrance

Tuskegee history professor Frank Toland speaks to the gathered students at the base of the Confederate monument.

Black Protesters Have Been Rallying Against Confederate Statues for Generations

When Tuskegee student Sammy Younge, Jr., was murdered in 1966, his classmates focused their righteous anger on a local monument

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Remembering Tulsa

Looking Back at the Tulsa Race Massacre, 100 Years Later

Confronting the murderous attack on the most prosperous black community in the nation

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

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

The costume worn by Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther during his Marvel Studios debut (2016's Captain America: Civil War), from the collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

How Black Panther Changed Comic Books (and Wakanda) Forever

The Marvel superhero pounced on the scene in the '60s and never looked back

Rainey’s “polite and dignified bearing enforces respect,” an 1871 newspaper report said before disparaging him as unequal to the “best men of the House.”

Meet Joseph Rainey, the First Black Congressman

Born enslaved, he was elected to Congress in the wake of the Civil War. But the impact of this momentous step in U.S. race relationships did not last long

Our favorite books this year are ones with messages that help kids understand the world around them.

The Ten Best Children's Books of 2020

These top titles deliver history lessons, wordplay and a musical romp through the animal kingdom

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Smithsonian Voices

Why the Smithsonian Is Encouraging Americans to Talk More Openly About Race

In a year marked by calls to reckon with America’s racial past, the Smithsonian is taking a big step toward helping the nation heal

An illustration from the May 26, 1882 issue of the San Francisco Illustrated Wasp depicts three ghoulish figures called malarium, smallpox and leprosy and one holding a sash that says “Chinatown.”

The Long History of Blaming Immigrants in Times of Sickness

Panelists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History discuss pandemics and scapegoating

President Lyndon B. Johnson shakes hands with Martin Luther King Jr. at the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Race in America

The Outsized Role of the President in Race Relations

A new podcast series explores how the presidency has shaped the nation's approach to pursuing racial justice

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