Smithsonian Search for Black History Artifacts in Atlanta, 1991

In 1991, Claudine K. Brown visited Atlanta in search of African American artifacts and memorabilia that would go inside a future institution by the name of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Again her visit was in 1991. This article notes that in addition to viewing private collections, Ms. Brown also had plans to visit the Hammonds House, the Alonzo Herndon Home, APEX Museum, and Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. As Project Director, Ms. Brown’s Atlanta visit focused on meeting a deadline to determine if there were enough artifacts to fill a Black History museum. We all know the answer to that question now, don’t we?

A quick Google search reveals that Ms. Claudine K. Brown left the Smithsonian in the 1990s due to the institution’s failure to establish NMAAHC during that time, this shortcoming was influenced by political opposition from former U.S. Senator, the late James Helms, Jr. (NC).

Eventually, NMAAHC would open its doors to the public on September 24, 2016. Ms. Brown passed 5 months prior -March 27, 2016 (aged 67) 🕊

[source: news article on file at Kenan Research Center]

AMOCO’s 1963 American Travelers Guide to Negro Monuments

The “American Travelers Guide to Negro Monuments” was published by American Oil Company also known as AMOCO, in 1963. AMOCO described it as a “guide to historical sites… that are usually not mentioned in conventional guidebooks…not often included in ordinary textbooks… and [AMOCO’s] contribution to the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation”

Image 1: cover of American Travelers Guide to Negro Monuments

Image 2: Points of interest and portion of U.S. map

Image 3: page detailing Matthew Henson site in Maryland + Morgan State College’s (now Morgan State University) archival holdings of Henson, Benjamin Banneker, and Frederick Douglass artifacts

[source: Kenan Research Center]

#VisitBlackHistory

(Atlanta) Street Name Changes: John Wesley Dobbs

Doing a bit of research on street name changes, here’s an example || On August 16, 1993 Atlanta City Council approved Ordinance Number 93-0-1140 resulting in “Renaming Houston Street in its entirety to John Wesley Dobbs Avenue and for other purposes”

Image 1: John Wesley Dobbs Ave and Jackson Street NE

Image 2: full record of city ordinance which notes “John Wesley Dobbs was a champion of African American business and Civil Rights in Atlanta and the Nation.”

Image 3: City Council votes on ordinance.

Image 4: Notice of a public hearing listed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

John Wesley Dobbs (1881-1962) is Maynard Jackson’s (1938-2003) maternal grandfather. Jackson was the mayor of Atlanta when the ordinance was signed and the street renamed in his grandfather’s honor.

[source: ordinance records on file at Kenan Research Center]

(Atlanta) “With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith”

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5 pictures captured while exploring “With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith” at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.

The entire exhibition is housed in 4 rooms. Images 1-4 were photographed in the temporary exhibit room labeled the Tommie Smith Archives. Tommie Smith and wife Delois, are said to have amassed and archived thousands of artifacts related to his life and career. The High Museum currently has on display a selection of photographs, news clippings, awards, and other material culture.

The Tommie Smith Archives is dedicated to artifacts while the rest of the exhibit features the work of conceptual artist, Glenn Kaino. Each of Kaino’s designs are inspired by Tommie Smith, the living legend.

Image 1: commemorative item from 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

Image 2: Published letter written by Shirley Graham DuBois, addressed to Tommie Smith. Mrs. DuBois was the wife of W.E.B. DuBois. The letter was printed with her permission in a publication entitled The Black Panther.

Image 3: Track and Field equipment.

Image 4: Tommie Smith achieving a world record title during his time at San Jose State University.

Image 5: The Bridge a conceptual piece created by Glenn Kaino. The 100 foot serpentine bridge is comprised of gold painted casts of Tommie Smith’s arm. There is a great amount of symbolism in this piece including it representing a “path connected to the past that leads forward to the present.”

Museum Merchandise Monday: Lucy Craft Laney Museum and Conference Center

This #MuseumMerchandiseMonday is dedicated to Augusta, Georgia’s Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History & Conference Center. Pictured are a couple pages from the museum’s activity & coloring book.

The small house museum opened in 1991 and is the only African American museum in the Central Savannah River Area. It is located in the Historic Laney-Walker District and promotes “the legacy of Miss Lucy Craft Laney through art, history and the preservation of her home.” Miss Laney started the first kindergarten class for black children in Augusta and founded the Lamar School of Nursing for black women.

Also pictured in this post are images of promotional material for past exhibitions held at the museum and conference center.

Current events and other information can be found on the museum’s website Lucycraftlaneymuseum.com or by calling 706-724-3576.