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You Should Know

You Should Know: Black Fashion Icons

African Americans have participated in the fashion industry in various roles, including as designers, dressmakers, seamstresses and influencers.

They have found ways to build spaces for their creative expressions, even when they have faced intensively challenging circumstances such as prejudices and discrimination based on race, gender and classism.
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Collection Story

Strands of Inspiration: Exploring Black Identities through Hair

Many artists and designers in the NMAAHC collection explore the role that hair plays within their own Black identities. These artists highlight Black hair’s ability to form meaning due to its malleable nature that gives way to creative symbolism. The cultural significance of Black hair manifests through the themes demonstrated in art works that consider race through the lenses of gender, space, and time.
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Collection Story

Capturing Community and Creating Coalitions: Frank Espada in the 1960s

Beginning in the early 1960s, photographer Frank Espada (1930–2014) attended rallies and boycotts, snapping images of New York youth and the battles fought by them and their families.
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Our American Story

Our American Story - Juneteenth

This year marks the second anniversary since President Joe Biden named Juneteenth a federal holiday in 2021. As more Americans celebrate Juneteenth with family and community, it is vital to share the important historical legacy behind Juneteenth and recognize the long struggle to make it an officially recognized holiday. It is an opportunity to honor our country’s second Independence Day and reflect on our shared history and future.
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Collection Story


Ramadan is the name of the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar and is the official month of fasting for Muslims worldwide. For the duration of the month, Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset each day, perform meaningful rituals that illuminate their faith, exercise humility, and engage in self-reflection.
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Our American Story

From Slavery to Freedom

From inventing dry-cleaning to sugar refining to the first steamboat propeller, African Americans have been active contributors to the economic, political, and social legacies of the United States. Much of U.S. history, however, is contextualized by the system of slavery that was imposed on African Americans for 250 years—and how those born under that system and in its aftermath have crafted a culture deeply rooted in resilience and looking toward the future. The transition from slavery to freedom included many roadblocks as the country confronted the question of how resources could reach newly freed African Americans.
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Collection Story

Black Geographies: Our Place in the World

A close look at spaces African Americans have inhabited and fought for can deepen our understanding of the connections between race, space, and place.
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Our American Story

Honoring General Colin Powell

Gen. Colin Luther Powell, our nation’s first African American Secretary of State, was a revered military hero, four-star general, decorated veteran, and statesman. His accomplishments during his decades of military and civil service—including being a recipient of the Soldier’s Medal, the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, the Congressional Gold Medal, and two Presidential Medals of Freedom, among others—serve as a powerful testament and symbol of the fulfillment of the American promise.
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Collection Story

From Here and From There: Exploring Elizabeth Catlett’s African American and Mexican Duality

Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012) was exiled from the United States due to the political themes she explored in her art. Her legacy is one of cultural belonging and activism that provokes conversations about the role of art among continental American neighbors: the U.S. and Mexico.
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Transatlantic Commuter

At Home and Abroad

Because he returned frequently to the United States to work, visit family, and engage in activism, Baldwin referred to himself as a “transatlantic commuter.”
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