March is Women’s History Month and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will celebrate with panel discussions, film screenings and a social-media campaign exploring the contributions of African American women in the arts, business, leadership and activism. Unless otherwise noted, all events will take place in the museum’s Oprah Winfrey Theater. All events are free and open to the public; however, where noted, registration is required. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-seated basis. Below is a chronological listing:
#HiddenHerstory: Social Media Campaign on Unsung Women in American History
The museum has launched a month long social-media campaign to spotlight the work of 15 African American women who, though not widely known, made a significant impact on history. Among them are organizers Hallie Quinn Brown and Pauli Murray, artists Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller and Harriet Powers, entrepreneurs Ann Lowe and Annie Turnbo Malone and musicians Big Mama Thornton and Gladys Bentley. The public can participate by following @NMAAHC, the hashtag #HiddenHerstory and downloading our social media toolkit.
Thursday, March 9; 7 p.m.
BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez: A Screening and Discussion
The critically acclaimed documentary, BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, explores the life and legacy of poet and activist Sonia Sanchez, whom the late Maya Angelou described as a “lion in literature’s forest.” Sanchez will participate in a post-screening discussion with filmmakers Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon. Details and Registration (required)
Saturday, March 11; 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Community Day: The Tuskegee Experience
The Tuskegee Airmen overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. They proved that African Americans could fly and maintain sophisticated combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen’s achievements, together with the men and women who supported them, paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. Community Day participants are invited to meet a few of the Tuskegee Airmen and hear their stories, design a squadron badge, and take self-guided tours of the museum’s military exhibitions which feature a display of an open-cock pit plane used to train the Tuskegee Airmen for combat duty. Details and Registration (required)
Wednesday, March 15; 7 p.m. (This event is sold out.)
Culinary Legacy: A Conversation Between Dr. Jessica Harris and Chef Leah Chase
Leah Chase, an esteemed New Orleans chef and community builder, will talk about her life, creativity and the entrepreneurial drive it took to create Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, a landmark eatery in New Orleans that began as a neighborhood sandwich shop and is now an elegant restaurant that has served everyone from members of the community to U.S. Presidents. Harris is the author of 12 critically acclaimed cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African diaspora, including Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons: Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking. Harris helped shape the concept of the museum’s highly popular cafeteria, Sweet Home Café, one of 20 semifinalists for the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards in the category of Best New Restaurant. A book signing follows the program. Details and Registration (required)
Cinema + Conversation
The museum’s Center for African American Media Arts and Center for the Study of African American Religious Life are collaborating with the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital to present the following films:
Wednesday, March 22; 3 p.m.
Beyond the Prison Walls
This animated documentary by directors Riley and Nicholas Pilarski explores the poignant and imaginative illustrations of a young woman grappling with the effects of her brother’s incarceration. Details and Registration (required)
Friday, March 24; 7 p.m.
Re-imagining African Spiritualties in Daughters of the Dust
A screening of the newly re-mastered version of Daughters of the Dust and a discussion that explores the film through the lens of African spirituality. Details and Registration (required)
Saturday, March 25; noon
Women of the LA Rebellion
The museum will host a two-hour block of short films showcasing the contribution of women filmmakers to the UCLA filmmaking movement known as the “LA Rebellion.” This is followed by a discussion with filmmakers and a screening of the documentary Spirits of the Rebellion. Details and Registration (required)