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A Tour of Beauty Industry Pioneer Madam C.J. Walker’s Indianapolis | Travel

Smithsonian
One of America’s most prolific entrepreneurs also happens to be one of the lesser known business leaders of the early 20th century. But that could change this week when Netflix airs a miniseries in her honor. Called “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker,” the four-part drama......
History

Experience 1930s Europe Through the Words of Two African American Women | History

Smithsonian
Five years before the publication of the first Negro Motorist Green Book—the beloved guide of destinations deemed safe for African Americans in a nation segregated by Jim Crow—two cousins named Roberta G. Thomas and Flaurience Sengstacke chronicled what life was like for two young, African American women traveling abroad. Published......
History

How Automobiles Helped Power the Civil Rights Movement | History

Smithsonian
The driver glanced nervously into his rear-view mirror. The police motorcycles he had noticed a few blocks earlier were definitely trailing him. He glanced at his speedometer, determined to follow every traffic law. Then, as he stopped to let a passenger out of his car, the motorcycles pulled up toward......
History

Madam C.J. Walker Gets a Netflix Close-Up | History

Smithsonian
Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove in Louisiana in 1867, was the most successful black wellness mogul of her day. Now a new Netflix series will show how this enterprising daughter of freed slaves empowered generations of black women to prosper. Breedlove was in her 30s when she began treating......
History

Nine Women Whose Remarkable Lives Deserve the Biopic Treatment | History

Smithsonian
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Feb. 7, 2020, 12:41 p.m. This year’s roster of Academy Award nominees is much like those of previous decades: predominantly male and white. Of the 20 men and women nominated for acting awards, only one—Harriet’s Cynthia Erivo—is a person of color. And despite strong offerings from the likes......
History

How World War I Planted the Seeds of the Civil Rights Movement | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
In early April 1917, when President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress seeking to enter the United States in the first World War, he urged the “world must be made safe for democracy.” A. Philip Randolph, the co-founder of the African-American magazine The Messenger, would late retort in......
History

A Massive New Database Will Connect Billions of Historic Records to Tell the Full Story of American Slavery | History

Smithsonian
In 1834, a 22-year-old Yoruba man who would come to be known as Manuel Vidau was captured as a prisoner of war and sold to slave traders in Lagos, today the largest city in Nigeria. A Spanish ship transported him to Cuba, where he was sold to a white man......
History

Lonnie Bunch Sizes Up His Past and Future at the Smithsonian | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is a historical and cultural nexus where American life bears its complex, painful and often self-contradictory soul. NMAAHC is built on fascinating dualities: celebrating African-American history, yet bearing witness to its greatest tragedies; exhibiting objects from everyday homes, yet......
History

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch Weighs In on Legendary Photo Archive of African-American Life | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
A hand-wringing bankruptcy auction put the fate of one of the most significant collections of 20th-century photographs documenting the African-American experience up in the air. More than 4 million prints and negatives that make up the storied legacy of the Johnson Publishing Company, the parent company of essential black publications,......
History

One Hundred Years Ago, a Four-Day Race Riot Engulfed Washington, D.C. | History

Smithsonian
By all accounts, the 1919 Fourth of July celebration in Washington, D.C., was one for the ages. Coming right on the heels of the end of the Great War, and with President Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations peace plan still very much alive, Independence Day was a symbolic coming out......
History

While NASA Was Landing on the Moon, Many African-Americans Sought Economic Justice Instead | History

Smithsonian
In anticipation of astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon, an estimated 8,000 New Yorkers gathered in Central Park, eager to celebrate the moment. The New York Times ran a photograph of the crowd glued to the networks’ broadcasts on three giant screens and described the event as “a......
History

These Photo Albums Offer a Rare Glimpse of 19th-Century Boston’s Black Community | History

Smithsonian
With a quiet, unflinching confidence, Virginia L. Molyneaux Hewlett Douglass posed for the photographer, one slender hand rustling the pleats of her fine silk dress. Although portraits were trendy and accessible in the 1860s when hers was shot, hand-colored photographs were a luxury, and this one is saturated with shades......
History

The Americans Who Saw Lady Liberty as a False Idol of Broken Promises | History

Smithsonian
It was a crisp, clear fall day in New York City, and like many others, Lillie Devereaux Blake was eager to see the great French statue, donated by that country’s government to the United States as a token of friendship and a monument to liberty, finally unveiled. President Grover Cleveland......

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