The Making African America symposium brought together fifty-three scholars, journalists, activists, curators, filmmakers and writers to discuss how immigration has shaped and is continuing to reshape what it means to be Black in the United States. 

Watch the Symposium

Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III gives opening remarks at the Making African America symposium.

Symposium Schedule 


Information & Resources

Poster for African Liberation Day

Program Booklet

A detailed symposium program for attendees with sessions descriptions, speakers and more.
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Pinback button for the Shirley Chisholm presidential campaign, ca. 1972

Additional Resources

A brief introduction to foundational works in the fields of African American Studies, African diaspora studies, and the history of black immigration in the United States.
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A diverse set of resources, organized by conference panel, with which attendees can further engage with symposium participants.
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Making African America: The Arts

Explore five works of art from the museum's collection that highlight U.S.-based black artists who looked to Africa and the black diaspora for sources of cultural pride and heritage.
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Making African America: Politics

Explore five political artifacts from the museum's collection, which help reveal the demographic changes that have transformed the social, cultural, and political significance of blackness in the United States.
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Podcast Episodes

A curated list of engaging and informative podcasts on immigration and the changing dynamics of blackness.
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Community Day: Telling Tales Of The Diaspora

Jessica B. Harris discusses her recent book, "Vintage Postcards from the African World" with Kelly Navies, Oral History Museum Specialist.
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Share Your Story

Join the Making African America Virtual Symposium conversation by sharing your story related to immigration through the Museum’s online community collection.

Tells us your journey, family’s journey, or simply share holiday traditions and unique recipes. We want to know how your personal history connects to the larger black diaspora or how you experience being black in America. To share your story with us, create an online account and upload an image and a brief entry using the tags Immigration, Diaspora, and Family. Visit our submission guidelines for tips on how to share a great community story. For more information on the Community Curation Platform, visit the Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History.

Presenting Partners

The Center for Global Migration Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park

The Center for Global Migration Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park works to advance teaching and interdisciplinary research around issues of migration and immigration. Working in collaboration with numerous academic departments, community organizations, and institutions in Washington, D.C., the Center is pioneering new ways of producing and sharing knowledge about the processes of migration.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Since opening September 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed over 7 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting, and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram—or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

Please contact us with questions about the Making African America virtual symposium.

African-American history might best be viewed as a series of great migrations, during which immigrants—at first forced and then free—transformed an alien place into a home, becoming deeply rooted in a land that once was foreign, even despised. After each migration, the newcomers created new understandings of the African-American experience and new definitions of blackness.

Ira Berlin

Explore the Collection

Discover signature objects from the Museum's collection

Costume dress and belt for Dorothy in The Wiz on Broadway, 1975

Designed by Geoffrey Holder (1930 - 2014)
View Object about Costume dress and belt for Dorothy in The Wiz on Broadway, 1975

"Ethiopia," ca. 1921

Created by Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller (1877–1968)
View Object about "Ethiopia," ca. 1921

"Free Huey!" 1970

Recorded by Stokely Carmichael and published by Black Forum Records
View Object about "Free Huey!" 1970

This symposium and program is generously supported by

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