Racism

“Bessie Coleman (above: with her Curtiss JN-4 "Jennie" in her custom designed flying suit, ca. 1924) was a real gutsy woman for the era,” says Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. "Anyone else might have quit at any time.”

For Pilot Bessie Coleman, Every 'No' Got Her Closer to 'Yes'

Despite fierce obstacles in her path, the Black female aviator became a hero that would pave the way for generations to come

Lawrence Brooks, 110, pictured at a previous birthday celebration at the National World War II Museum

Lawrence Brooks, the United States' Oldest Living WWII Veteran, Dies at 112

Brooks was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1940, when he was in his early 30s

Richmond took down its statue of Robert E. Lee in September 2021.

Richmond's Robert E. Lee Statue Is Headed to a Black History Museum

Officials have tentatively agreed to transfer ownership of removed Confederate monuments to a pair of museums in the Virginia city

Smithsonian's most-read stories of 2021 included an explainer on crocodile evolution, a profile of a teen inventor and a feature on Viking explorer Gudrid the Far Traveler.

Our Top Ten Stories of 2021

From archaeological finds to an invasive weed to Roman bathrooms, these were our most-read articles of the year

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

The 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life stars James Stewart as down-on-his-luck George Bailey and Donna Reed as his wife, Mary.

What 'It's a Wonderful Life' Teaches Us About American History

The Christmas classic, released 75 years ago, conveys many messages beyond having faith in one another

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

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

New memorials provide a bare outline of the lives of two Black victims killed during the Holocaust.

New Memorials in Berlin Honor the Holocaust's Overlooked Black Victims

Two brass "stumbling stones" are among the first to memorialize the Afro-German people murdered by the Nazis

This year's list includes Four Lost Cities, About Time and The Man Who Hated Women.

The Best Books of 2021

The Ten Best History Books of 2021

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and help explain how the U.S. got to where it is today

This composite photograph shows the bison herd with one of the newly discovered petroglyphs overlaid on the sky.

Bison in Canada Discover Ancient Petroglyphs, Fulfilling an Indigenous Prophecy

Reintroduced to Wanuskewin Heritage Park in 2019, the animals' hooves uncovered four 1,000-year-old rock carvings

Critics of the statue have emphasized not only to the deferential position of the two other figures but also Roosevelt’s racist beliefs and actions.

Controversial Teddy Roosevelt Statue Will Be Moved From NYC to North Dakota

The equestrian monument will leave the steps of the American Museum of Natural History, finding a new home at the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library

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

Chinese railroad workers near the Secret Town Trestle in Placer County, California, around 1869

Cool Finds

Artifacts Used by Chinese Transcontinental Railroad Workers Found in Utah

Researchers discovered the remains of a mid-19th century house, a centuries-old Chinese coin and other traces of the short-lived town of Terrace

Attorney, author, scholar and reverend Pauli Murray, pictured here on December 22, 1976

LGBTQ+ Pride

The Trailblazing, Multifaceted Activism of Lawyer-Turned-Priest Pauli Murray

New documentary tells the story of a Black and LGBTQ thinker who helped lay the legal groundwork for fighting gender- and race-based discrimination

Yale's namesake sits at the center of this group portrait, Elihu Yale With Members of His Family and an Enslaved Child (circa 1719, attributed to John Verelst).

Who Is the Enslaved Child in This Portrait of Yale University's Namesake?

Scholars have yet to identify the young boy, but new research offers insights on his age and likely background

Researchers at the University of Virginia analyzed county-by-county data on Confederate memorials and lynchings in 11 Southern states between 1832 and 1950.

Survey Identifies Correlation Between Confederate Monuments and Lynchings

Counties with higher numbers of statues honoring the Confederacy recorded more racially motivated killings of Black Americans

Photo of 1982 excavation at North Shore site

Race in America

Before Rhode Island Built Its State House, a Racist Mob Destroyed the Community That Lived There

In 1831, a group of white rioters razed the Providence neighborhood of Snowtown. Now, archaeologists are excavating its legacy

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the audit found that the majority of America's monuments commemorate white, male historical figures.

History of Now

Scholars Spent a Year Scrutinizing America's Monuments. Here's What They Learned

A major audit of nearly 50,000 monuments reveals the historical figures, themes and myths that dominate the nation's commemorative landscape

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