Explore the digital resources on this page to learn more about African American history at the National Museum of American History.

Photo above: Marian Anderson performing at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939. Scurlock Studio Records, Series 4: Black and White Negatives Box 618.04.86, Archives Center (AC0618ns0227136-01jp)

Exhibitions

A metal historical marker professionally photographed against a white background. The sign’s purple paint and white lettering are disfigured and pierced by hundreds of pellet gun and bullet holes.
This bullet-riddled River Site marker was recently collected by the museum and displayed in the exhibition "Reckoning with Remembrance: History, Injustice, and the Murder of Emmett Till." (2020.0077.01)

Podcasts

The museum's newest podcast series, Collectedis a project of the African American History Curatorial Collective. Centering stories curated by the Collective’s members, this podcast offers compelling and accessible journeys through topics in African American history that are particularly relevant today. The topic for the first season of Collected is Black Feminism.

Listen to the trailer for the first season of the Collected podcast.

Other Smithsonian-related podcast episodes featuring African American history include:

Videos

In addition to the recent highlights below, the museum's YouTube channel has many more videos that explore African American history. The Program in African American History and Culture and Reckoning with Remembrance: History, Injustice, and the Murder of Emmett Till playlists are excellent places to start.

Watch a short trailer previewing the Harold M. Anderson Black Wall Street Film Collection, recently published on the museum's YouTube channel.

Blog Posts

Visit the museum's blog to discover many more stories rooted in African American history.

Black Life In Two Pandemics - Histories of Violence
The Black Life in Two Pandemics: Histories of Violence blog series examines the long history of racial violence in the Midwest and its connections to the current public health crisis and structural racism today.

Educational Resources

The 2020 National Youth Summit centered on the experiences of Claudette Colvin—a 15-year-old Black student in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. Colvin refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus and testified in the legal case that brought an end to segregated busing in Montgomery.

HistoryTime

The HistoryTime series encourages elementary school students to practice thinking routines by carefully observing museum objects and artifacts. Each video has an accompanying lesson plan with activities for students to do in class or at home

Watch a HistoryTime video exploring the work of Elizabeth Keckly.

Archival Collections

The National Museum of American History’s Archives Center collects, preserves, and provides access to numerous archival collections related to African American history. Some highlights include:

The Archives Center recently completed work as part of a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources to establish the D.C. Africana Archives Project. The grant aimed to document African American and African culture, history, and politics in Washington, D.C., through photographs and documents held by people and organizations throughout the city.

A man, woman, and group of girls wearing bathing suits and holding toy balls pose for a photo seated in and around a car beside a beach.
YWCA camp for girls, Highland Beach, Maryland. Scurlock Studio Records, Subseries 4.1: Black-and-White Silver Gelatin Negatives, Archives Center (NMAH-AC0618ns0179056pg)

Other Smithsonian Resources

From Our Blog

Sepia-toned photo of young African American man in U.S. Marine Corps uniform

In 2012, World War II veteran Calvin Curtis was presented with a copy of the Montford Point Congressional Gold Medal for his part in the beginning of the desegregation of the United States Marine Corps, the last branch of service to accept Black recruits.

Conservator sews linen thread along the spine of the Caramelo Deportivo album
In preparation for an exhibition, all objects undergo a thorough assessment of their condition by conservators. That was the case for Caramelo Deportivo, a 15-page album on newsprint paper bound with staples in 1940s Havana, Cuba.
See more blog posts