From the Collection, Gift of James E. Brown

Gestures are a nonverbal form of communication used by African Americans with panache. Whether it’s a side eye, the swagger of a walk, or dropping the mic, gestures send strong messages ranging from respect to dismissal, or unity and brotherhood. One gesture, the dap, dates back to black soldiers in Vietnam, who used a combination of hand and body gestures to greet each other and communicate solidarity. African American gestures, like other forms of black cultural expression, are often adopted by individuals and groups outside of the culture as they are spread through multi-media.


Download our mobile app for more stories celebrating Military Appreciation Month

The Mobile Stories app is a complement to your Museum visit and a way to discover some of the many stories found in our collection. The app features highlighted objects from the collection, multimedia and augmented reality features to enhance your Museum experience, and new stories exploring our inaugural exhibitions.