Note: While history shouldn’t require a spoiler alert, this blog does contain some minor ones regarding the HBO series Watchmen.“You know...
Maybe this painting looks familiar. A long row of red-coated soldiers. A cloud of gun smoke engulfing the street. Falling bodies.Detail of...
The Stonewall uprising began June 28, 1969, in response to a police raid at The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York, and has since...

Blog Posts in "Stories of Freedom & Justice"

Street signs in Washington, D.C.
The writers of the Black Life in Two Pandemics series have examined the deep roots of racial violence in the Midwest and the connections...
Posters in Washington D.C.
IntroductionOur political and legal systems are inextricably intertwined with and fueled by structural racism. This legacy predates the...
“George Floyd,” by Peyton Scott Russell
In March 2020, the Urban Art Mapping research team, a small group of faculty and students from the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul,...
Man carrying a box outside a food distribution center
With the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing civil unrest, historians, educators, and the general public once again fixated on the “long...
Destruction by fire of Pennsylvania Hall
"Destruction by fire of Pennsylvania Hall, the new building of the Abolition Society, on the night of the 17th May," courtesy of Library of...
Black Life in Two Pandemics: Histories of Violence
George Floyd’s Memorial Day 2020 killing by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin shook the nation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the...
Room with medical staff and patients in Freedmen's Hospital
Racism has been a public health emergency in America for over 400 years. We can call it a crisis or disaster or something else entirely....
On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could not rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA...
After months of uncertainty, Major League Baseball will begin a shortened season at Nationals Park. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the...
For John Lewis, activism for social change was a communal activity. He believed that people coming together to mentor, protest, and learn...
For Michael and Robert, the quick peck before a walk around the lake with Michael’s son was an ordinary moment. For J. Ross Baughman, it...
In March 1995, Ladies Home Journal named Dr. Florence Haseltine one of the ten most important women in medicine. Haseltine, currently...
Maggie Lena Walker was one of the most important Black businesswomen in the nation, and today too few people have heard of her.Maggie Lena...
An illustration of Civil War-era African American troops in the U.S. military posing with the U.S. flag in the background
Every election season in the United States revolves around a set of issues—health care, foreign affairs, the economy. In 1868, at the...
The museum has created a new collecting initiative focused on how undocumented activists are leading fights for political representation....
A line of people wait outside the Baltimore branch of the NAACP in 1843
In 2020, the Fifteenth Amendment—the first voting rights amendment added to the U.S. Constitution—celebrates its 150th anniversary. You’ve...
Bouquets in front of a gas station.
World Trade Center, September 2001, by Christophe AgouThe attacks of September 11, 2001, shocked the nation. Nearly 3,000 people were...
When you think about the culture around skateboarding, you might think about the laid-back vibe of acceptance and inclusion that the sport...
The Transcontinental Railroad was completed 150 years ago, in 1869. In 1800s America, some saw the railroad as a symbol of modernity and...
Multiple rainbows flag items
In 2017, in response to a slew of racist incidents in the Gayborhood, Philadelphia added black and brown stripes to the traditional six-...
When Chef Sean Sherman began speaking about his experiences growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, he shattered all-too-...
Blue, white, and red banner with an image of Admiral Dewey in center of white stripe, surrounded by laurels.
George Dewey was promoted to the rank of rear admiral after the Battle of Manila Bay. Dewey was celebrated in American culture with songs,...
These are our most fascinating blog posts of 2018, according to our readers.When FBI agents showed up with a pair of sparkly, red shoesA...
An illustration of an African American soldier
Suffering from "shell shock and a general breakdown," Charles Mackall and James Randall arrived in Philadelphia in September 1918 from...
White celluloid collar on black background
Men’s celluloid collar, 1900sAt first glance, this collar from the 1800s might not look like much. A closer inspection shows that this...
This printed and hand-drawn birth and baptismal certificate
As our Philanthropy Initiative continues to explore the history of giving, we're eager to share stories of success and failure. This story...
Musical inspiration abounds in the collections and exhibitions around us. As interns in the Making American Music project, we get to follow...
Sheet music cover, 'Get off the track!'
Turn right at the Batmobile. Take the elevator behind the John Bull locomotive. If you hit Julia Child's kitchen, you've gone too far. My...
"It was now quick work," Maria Mitchell noted. "As the last rays of sunlight disappeared, the corona burst out all around the sun, so...
Sheets wearing the Special Olympics oath on his shirt with Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Courtesy of Dave Sheets.
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics, recited this oath at...
Political campaign buttons with slogans from Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign
June 6, 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Robert “Bobby” Francis Kennedy. Being a native Northern Virginian, I knew that the...
A yellowed page with black text announcing the "Grand Concert in aid of the Russian Jewish Refugees"
The arts are "a space where we can give dignity to others while interrogating our own circumstances," Darren Walker, president of the...
A blue and yellow banner that reads "Please give your help" and "Bowl of Rice, Feb. 9, 10, 11,1940-S.F. Chinatown"
Wartime often catalyzes developments in philanthropy. In 2017, the museum added the Bowl of Rice party banner, from fundraising efforts to...
President Lyndon Johnson signing the Fair Housing Act, 1968, surrounded by onlookers
Fifty years ago, on April 11, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill that was to end discrimination in most of the nation’s housing...
Norman Granz and Ella Fitzgerald stand side-by-side in front of a microphone
A civil rights protest often invokes the vivid images of sit-ins, boycotts, and marches, but the fight for racial equality took many...
A woman with styled hair leans out a window.
In my first week as a curator at the National Museum of American History, I made a list of women I wished were present in the museum's...
Portrait of Madam C. J. Walker, taken in 1915
A former laundress who became a millionaire from her hair-care company, Madam C. J. Walker (1867–1919) was a leading philanthropist of the...
An illustration of a ticket that reads 'Order 9066'
Each year we mark the Day of Remembrance with events recognizing Executive Order 9066, signed on February 19, 1942, after Japan’s bombing...
An image of a violet fraternal collar--opulently decorated with golden embroidery and a hand painted eye
Artists have long been major players in American philanthropy. If that surprises you to learn, you might be further surprised to learn that...
Photograph of lunch counter with four chairs
"I walked away with an attitude that, if our country is screwed up, don't give up. Unscrew it, but don't give up."   ...
A sepia photograph of a woman with dark coiffed hair in a military-style shirt. She is smiling.
Museum Specialist Noriko Sanefuji and Curator Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum and Historic Site...
A black suitcase whose case is old and warped with stripes down the center under the handle.
Museum Specialist Noriko Sanefuji and Curator Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum and Historic Site...
A man in a military uniform and a woman in a dark coat stand smiling in front of a house.
Seventy-five years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. While the order avoided naming any particular ethnic...
a photograph of Ella Fitzgerald. She looks up and away from the camera. She is smiling and rests on a number of records spread out on the table in front of her.
In the Archives Center, jazz always seems to be a topic of discussion, whether it be a researcher looking for the Duke Ellington Collection...
A playing card on which a man wearing boxing clubs in a fighting stance stands against a green background made to look like a large hall with many seated people
In 1908, Texan Jack Johnson (1878–1946) defeated Canadian Tommy Burns to become the first African American world heavyweight boxing...
Still from a black and white movie. Movie poster in background. A young, nicely dressed African American woman and man stand together, smiling.
The Reverend Harold Mose Anderson was always fascinated by the movies. Anderson saved his money and bought a home movie camera from a...
(Detail image) Black and white photo of an African American man in military uniform. His arms are gently crossed, a watch o his wrist. His head is slightly tilted to the right, with a serious but gentle look on his face. The uniform has pockets, buttons, and a fairly high collar.
Offered in celebration of Black History Month and in recognition of the 100th anniversary of America's participation in World War I, the...
A black patch with a white helmet sewn on the front
As a kid, Leonard W. Miller secretly tinkered with his parents' car for almost a year before they noticed he'd been replacing parts under...

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