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The Multiple Truths in the Works of the Enslaved Poet Phillis Wheatley

Smithsonian
I do not remember how old I was when my grandmother showed me Phillis Wheatley’s poetry. Ten, maybe 11? Young enough that my hands were open to everything she put in them—a crochet needle and thick hot pink yarn, a sewing needle, a gingham apron. Young enough that I obeyed,......
History

Why Harriet Tubman’s Heroic Military Career Is Now Easier to Envision

Smithsonian
On June 1 and 2, 1863, Harriet Tubman made history—again. After escaping slavery in 1849 and subsequently rescuing more than 70 other slaves during her service as an Underground Railroad conductor, she became the first woman in American history to lead a military assault. The successful Combahee Ferry Raid freed......
History

Revisit the Brutal Fight When Jack Dempsey Hammered the Super-Sized Champ to Claim Title | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
When boxer Jack Dempsey entered the championship match on the Fourth of July 1919, he faced a 6-foot 7-inch, 240-pound incredible hulk with a reach of almost seven feet. In an outdoor ring under a blazing sun that raised the temperature to a torrid 110 degrees, Dempsey crouched as he......
History

How to Virtually Explore the Smithsonian From Your Living Room | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | March 18, 2020, 9:24 a.m. The Smithsonian Institution’s 19 museums, galleries, gardens and National Zoo have temporarily shut their doors as a public health precaution aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. But while these brick-and-mortar buildings may be closed, the Smithsonian remains active in the digital sphere,......
History

Smithsonian Curators Help Rescue the Truth From These Popular Myths | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
Hollywood can’t resist depicting Dolley Madison saving a portrait of George Washington from the British army. Museum visitors love to gobble up the sticky confection known as astronaut ice cream, and Plymouth Rock has become a symbol of the national narrative, but like everything else, it’s complicated. Like a game......
History

Recognition of Major Osage Leader and Warrior Opens a New Window Into History | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
In 1904, the priest of the Gentle Sky clan, Shonke Mon-thi^, came to Washington, D.C. as a member of an Osage delegation to negotiate the land and mineral rights of his nation. While in this city of diplomatic exchanges, the clan leader received an invitation from the Smithsonian Institution’s U.S.......
History

How One Museum Helps the Nation Mourn | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
If I have learned one thing as director of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, it’s that there are two types of deaths that take national mourning to a whole new level. The first are those household names who seemed to have watched over us all our lives, imparting lessons along......
History

Ten Smithsonian Artifacts You Can 3-D Print | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Nov. 27, 2019, 10:02 a.m. The Smithsonian Institution’s 3-D digitization portal currently features 124 interactive artifact models. Of these offerings—among others, the list includes Amelia Earhart’s flight suit, a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and the remnants of a supernova—just under 100 are available for download as 3-D print-ready files,......
History

Why Cokie Roberts Admired Dolley Madison | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
When Cokie Roberts started out in journalism in the 1960s, the constant refrain she heard from men in the business was “we don’t hire women to do that.” But the congressional journalist and political commentator—who died at age 75 on Tuesday “due to complications from breast cancer,” according to a......
History

How Marian Anderson Became an Iconic Symbol for Equality | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
Conductor Arturo Toscanini dubbed her a once-in-a-hundred years talent, and yet music schools in her home town of Philadelphia would not entertain her as a student, and she did not find true fame until she left Jim Crow America behind and went to Europe. Even at the height of her......
History

The Actress Who Left the Stage to Become a Civil War Spy | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
SMITHSONIAN.COM | Aug. 12, 2019, 9:30 a.m. In a photograph no bigger than a playing card, a woman dressed in military costume cradles a sword, staring confidently beyond the frame. Her name is Pauline Cushman, an actress turned Civil War spy whose story dances between the boundary dividing history and......

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