Within the Ella Fitzgerald Papers collection, a hidden gem reveals a surprising connection between Fitzgerald and President John F. Kennedy...
The 2016 presidential election brought renewed discussion about the way Americans vote for presidential electors, those who will then cast...
Curious visitors, social media followers, and donors often ask which U.S. presidents have visited the museum. Inspired by the upcoming...

Blog Posts in "Stories of Freedom & Justice"

White button features a drawing of two students sitting next to each, one turns to the other and says "May 17th!." Around the button's border the text reads: "Keep the Buses Rolling...March on Boston."
On September 9, 1974, over 4,000 white demonstrators rallied at Boston Common to protest the start of court-ordered school desegregation in...
A photo from the museum of the installed portion of the counter from the Greensboro diner. It includes the countertop, four chairs, and part of the back wall with a mirror on it.
We often remember the civil rights movement as a few iconic events that took place at famous landmarks—the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the...
Color photograph of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, taken from ground level with a perspective looking up. Light and puffy clouds streak across the sky. Green foliage in foreground.
Our next door neighbor, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, opens on September 24, 2016, and our whole staff is...
A pair of children in period clothing stand next to a clapboard house
In 1962 Dr. Alixa Naff set out to tell the story of Arab immigrants from Syria and Lebanon. In addition to investigating an area that had...
Cover of comic book. Little boy in tears runs to father. Text: "Dad! They took away my baseball bat!"
Comics have historically been used to tell difficult stories and engage youth in important but challenging topics. Martin Luther King Jr....
Museum visitor looks at objects on a table while staff member points out features of historic objects
Our National Youth Summit on Japanese American Incarceration in World War II is just around the corner. In this national webcast...
Black and white photo of three Boy Scouts carrying a large U.S. flag with community in background, including other parade participants with bugle and drum.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Executive Order 9066 forcibly removed all people of Japanese ancestry, citizens or not,...
(Detail) Black and white photo of gathering in center of camp with buildings in background. Boy Scouts line up while community watches. In background, high mountains with snow on top.
Here at the museum, we're busy preparing for this year's National Youth Summit. The program is an interactive webcast event bringing...
Graphic in black text: "The Birth of a Nation" at 100
Our History Film Forum got us thinking about issues in depicting historic events in film. Watch our discussion on The Birth of a...
Light yellow and white dress, tea-length, short sleeves, scoop neck, delicate pattern
During my internship at the museum, I had the immense pleasure of working with a collection of objects donated by Minnijean Brown Trickey....
President Johnson sits at a desk outdoors with a view of the New York coastline in the background. Many people gather around him watching. American flag on pole beside desk.
The 1960s are known as a tumultuous decade of activism, populated by larger-than-life figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby...
Ben Kuroki was born on May 16, 1917, in Gothenburg, Nebraska, to Japanese immigrant parents. With the onset of World War II, Kuroki and...
Photograph, circa 1958, of four young African American women standing beside a convertible automobile
Beginning in the 1920s, widespread car ownership opened new opportunities to travel independently and explore. For black Americans, the...
Woman sitting on couch with turquoise fabric in her lap, holding some of its folds. Smiling. Gray couch, bookshelf in background.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
Yellow button with text saying in capitalized letters "Handicapped Human Rights: Sign 504 ACCD" in bold text.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
Large tube-shaped machine with six legs on rolling wheels. Blue in color with small windows.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
Circular white button with bold, capitalized text saying "I [heart symbol] ADA"
Activist Justin Dart, Jr. called it a "commandment." Some people think of it as a tangle of regulations, standards, and guidelines. Above...
Baseball players group photo
The year was 1944. A playoff series between two all-star baseball teams generated ample excitement. Gila River fought Heart Mountain...
G. Yamazawa
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the imprisonment of 120,000 Americans of...
Students' object portraits
I am a strong believer in helping my students become productive citizens through character education, and I believe that history...
Compilation record of Moon's recordings. Photo by Danny Lyon. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collection.
Fifty years after Freedom Summer, when students risked their lives to advance the cause of civil rights, intern Sydney Johnson explores...
White and blue tennis Dress, worn by Bille Jean King during the "Battle of the Sexes"
As objects representing Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning history enter the museum's collection today,...
Christopher Wilson, Director of Experience and Program Design, reflects on the legacy of Civil Rights activist and friend, Franklin McCain...
Ganz holding microphone speaking to audience, wearing white shirt
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Mississippi Summer Project, the Museum is hosting the National Youth Summit on Freedom Summer...
"One Man, One Vote" poster with photo of man in hat and overalls, black and white
Joy Lyman, one of the museum's Freedom School Scholars, will moderate the National Youth Summit on Freedom Summer on February 5, 2014. Joy...
Joy Lyman is a Freedom School Scholar at the National Museum of American History. In the course of her work on the 2014 National Youth...
Freedom School Scholar Harry Clarke reflects on the story of Glen Echo Amusement Park as part of his preparation to host the National Youth...
Poster show child playing with blocks that spell "E L R E T O"
Smithsonian Latino Center Fellow Jessica Lott's dissertation research led her to our medicine and science collections, where she...
Today, October 1, marks the anniversary of James Meredith's admission to the segregated University of Mississippi. Harry Clarke, who...
The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington makes intern Caitlin Gropp's research in preparation for a nationwide, online program...
Fifty years after the March on Washington, what we remember about the March may not accurately echo what was said and who spoke—and who...
Fannie Lou Hamer postage stamp
Confronted with challenging primary source material as part of her research on the civil rights movement, Fellow Regina Sierra Carter was...
Many have commented on the power of our Join the Student Sit-Ins program. One audience member wrote to us about the memories the...
Thirteen women and three children pose in floor-length dresses outside a building with fountain
Can you celebrate Black History by competing for a pageant crown? This is the second in Kimberly Brown's series on Negro History Week.When...
When there were no academic journals to counter racist scholarship, Dr. Carter G. Woodson created one. When no professional presses that...
Slave shackles
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the museum is hosting a National Youth Summit on Abolition, a...
Editor’s note: Today’s post is written by a student at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. This spring, Professor Amy Stevens’ civil...
One of the things I love most about being a public historian at the nation’s history museum is how the past comes to life every day. As the...
Portrait of Mary Lou Williams, CBS studio, New York, N.Y., ca. April 1947. Courtesy of William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin...
Recently in the online community run by our partner, Verizon Thinkfinity, an educator asked how members of our history teachers...
Loyal readers of our blog are surely familiar with the museum's theater programs, especially Join the Student Sit-Ins. This...
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is written by guest blogger Lynn Kessler, a writer and producer at Smithsonian Networks. "Seizing Justice: The...
Recently at the museum we were privileged to hear from one of this country’s eminent historians, David Hackett Fischer. As he described his...
Black and white photo of a man and woman looking at pages of paper.
Lena Horne was an American treasure, a cultural icon whose career achievements and social legacy challenged and transformed America’s...
"I just got a call from the White House and they want us to perform Sing for Freedom for their visitors one day during Black History...
In February of this year, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the sit-in at the F. W. Woolworth lunchcounter in Greensboro, NC. In 1960...
Throughout the spring, the blog has offered up a variety of topics related to freedom. We often use the term to indicate political...
Editor’s note: This post was written by Amy Trenkle, a middle school teacher in Washington, D.C. She and her students—along with 200 other...

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