(Washington, DC) Black History Month Kickoff Celebration at African American Civil War Memorial Museum

The African American Civil War Memorial Museum is conveniently located near Howard University, the U Street corridor, and the Spirit of Freedom sculpture. A WMATA train practically pulls up to it’s front door.

It was happenstance, the day that a friend and I visited the museum and found Virginia Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl success there addressing a captive audience. Also to my surprise was the presence of African American Civil War re-enactors (living historians) there in full garb.

The African American Civil War Memorial Museum is one of the lesser talked about cultural resources in Washington DC. It should be experienced at least once by locals and those visiting town. Tomorrow Friday February 1, 2019 will be a great opportunity to do so.

Washington, DC FRIDAY FEBRUARY 1, 2019 DC Black History Celebration Committee Presents “Black History Month Kickoff Celebration” 6-8 PM at the African American Civil War Memorial Museum. The program will include a keynote speaker, a community awards ceremony, followed by a reception.

🖤 #VisitBlackHistory ⚡️

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]

Smithsonian African American Film Festival Will Display Black Panther Costume for First Time

[photo source: Collection of The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Marvel Studios and The Walt Disney Company. Photographer: Matt Kennedy for Marvel]

The Black Panther’s hero costume worn by Chadwick Boseman will go on display for the first time during the inaugural Smithsonian African American Film Festival’s “Night at the Museum” celebration Thursday October 25, 2018.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has acquired several objects from the film Black Panther, including the costume worn by actor Chadwick Boseman, 24 high-resolution production photographs, and a shooting script signed by co-writer and director Ryan Coogler.

The objects were acquired when the museum’s Earl W. & Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts hosted a public screening of the film in February 2018.

Tickets to the festival and “Night at the Museum” can be purchased at http://aafilmfest.si.edu

Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery “One Year: 1968 An American Odyssey”

Photos: Courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery

(Washington, DC) In 1962 The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery was established by an act of Congress as a “free public museum…depicting men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development and culture…of the United States.” The Portrait Gallery opened to the public in 1968.

“One Year: 1968 An American Odyssey” celebrates the museum’s 50th anniversary in a one-room exhibition and is comprised of 30 objects including “photographs, paintings, drawings and magazines that highlight a time when Americans were questioning issues of leadership, citizenship and nationhood.” This temporary exhibition is on display through May 19, 2019

Image 1: Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown by James Hinton, Jr

Image 2: Jimi Hendrix by unidentified artist; Image 3: Eldridge Cleaver by Stephen Shames

Image 4: Resurrection City in Washington DC by Oliver Atkins

Image 5: Gallery View

Poor People’s Campaign Exhibit at Ben & Jerry’s Factory

Pictured is National Museum of African American History and Culture curator, Dr. Aaron Bryant, walking alongside Ben & Jerry Ice Cream co-founder Jerry Greenfield. Dr. Bryant curated a display which depicts the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign “against racism, poverty, and militarism.” The exhibit was recently unveiled to the public and will be on display at Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, VT through Dec 31, 2018.

The Poor People’s Campaign (Poor People’s March on Washington) was organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference – the march was carried out by Ralph David Abernathy, Sr., after the passing of Dr. King. The march started in Marks, Mississippi on May 12 1968, concluding in Washington, DC 50 years ago today June 24, 1968.

Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, VT is the regions largest tourist attraction, welcoming around 400,000 visitors per year. Ben & Jerry’s CEO, Jostein Solheim shared “These issues are as pressing today as they were 50 years ago. We’re hoping these images will inspire people to join the [current] Poor People’s Campaign for racial and economic justice.”

[source: Cision PR Newswire]

Shaolin Jazz at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

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The first time I visited the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, which was probably back in ‘07, I knew the space was special. Tucked away in the community of Anacostia, miles from it’s other Smithsonian counterparts, it is one of the “quieter” museums. For those who have experienced the Smithsonian corridor located near the Washington Monument, you know the wait times to get into certain museums and exhibits can sometimes take hours, days, and weeks. But not the Anacostia Community Museum. Now, in no way shape or form is this a reflection of the quality of exhibits and programming that are being produced at the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum. The space continues to provide the intellectual value that founder John R. Kinard and company delivered years ago. Encouraging visitors to reflect on everything from DC’s environmental concerns to the history of the Gullah Geechee people. And in most cases when there is a special program like a film festival or exhibit opening night, the museum event space is standing room only. Yesterday was an example of that || Yesterday, while I was stuck in traffic, I decided to break up my drive and stretch my legs a bit by visiting the Anacostia Museum. I started out by viewing and making my mark on the @amandalburnham @cultural_dc installation “Block Watch”. Followed by catching a performance by @shaolinjazz then I finally took a self-guided tour of “A Right to the City”. And I’ll just say everything about Burnham’s Mobile Art Gallery, the museum’s exhibit design and the live music performance was amazing….here are a few clips from that experience ~”The Historian”

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Exhibit “Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-Ins” – National Museum of American History

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“The Cutting Edge of Public History: New Directions in Interpretation” Conference got its start at the National Museum of American History.

Pictured is an exhibit, commemorating the Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-Ins. In photograph 2, you may notice that the mirror which also doubles as a media player, captures the reflection of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Out of 120,000 square feet in the American History Museum, the lunch counter and accompanying mirror managed to find itself in a space that incorporates neighboring building National Museum of African American History and Culture in its narrative.

Do you think this was strategic exhibit planning or coincidence?