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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

Musical Life at HBCUs

The National Museum of African American History and Culture's collection features many objects connected to the musical legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The material culture of HBCU music is a powerful illustration of the roles these institutions have played in the lives of Black musicians for over 150 years.
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Collection Story

Neighborhood Record Stores: Supplying Music and Cultural Education

In African American neighborhoods, record stores were places where the community, especially youth, could come together to listen to, purchase, and sometimes come face-to-face with the artists behind their favorite music.
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Collection Story

The Harlem Renaissance in Black Queer History

The Harlem Renaissance, a literary and cultural flowering centered in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood that lasted from roughly the early 1920s through the mid-1930s, marked a turning point in African American culture. Black queer artists and intellectuals were among the most influential contributors to this cultural movement.
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Collection Story

Fashioning Power and Gender in Hip-Hop

The 1970s witnessed the rise of streetwear, from denim to tennis shoes to casual dresses, all in reaction to the Black Power Movement. When hip-hop emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the already present emphasis on the vernacular style of Black urban life was refined into the iconic looks we know today.
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Collection Story

Their Words Live On: Remembering the Fallen Heroes of 2021

As 2022 approaches, we here at the National Museum of African American history and Culture pause to reflect on the lives of those we have lost in 2021. As we mourn their passing we must also preserve the incalculable contributions they have made to American history through their deeds and words.
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Collection Story

Showstoppers!

The Cathrell Collection presents not only a diverse picture of the jazz scene of the 1930s and 1940s, but also shines a spotlight on the careers of chorines whose high-energy performances have been overlooked. Through the journeys of three chorines represented in this collection, Laurie Cathrell (1914–1999), Birdie Warfield (ca. 1916–unknown), and Chickie Collins (ca. 1915–1942), one can see that chorines were not merely ornamentation for big bands, but talented, ambitious performers in their own rights.
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Five Things

Five Things to See: The Fashion of Hip-Hop

From the leather and feather of early MCs, to the classic New York City streetwear of 90s, to the revival of Afrocentric garb, to the big brand clothing line of moguls, fashion has been central to hip-hop identity.
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Five Things

Five Things to See: The Technology of Hip-Hop

Whether it’s the synthesizer sounds of the 80s, cross-genre MP3 mashups of the 90s, or the popularization of autotune in the 2000s, technology has always been a driving force behind hip-hop music.
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You Should Know

Five You Should Know: Black Actresses Who Refused to Be Typecast

Through their achievements in the dramatic arts, African American women have broken barriers, enriched American culture, and inspired audiences around the world.
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