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The African American story is central to our nation’s history. Collections documenting the contributions of African Americans in countless fields, along with the struggles and achievements inherent to their stories, can be found in the records of every Smithsonian museum. Help us make these collections more accessible through transcription. Browse projects below and learn more by searching our blog, and by visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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2 Total Pages 4 Contributing Members

Advertisement card for the Golden Echoes singing group

This advertisement is for a performance by the Golden Echoes Female Quartet, an all-female singing group associated with the McFarland Baptist Church in Evansville, Indiana.

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2 Total Pages 2 Contributing Members

Advertisement card for the Holiness Youth Crusade in Detroit, Michigan

This advertisement is for the 1947 Holiness Youth Crusade in Detroit, Michigan, featuring the Cleveland Colored Quintet, an all-male singing group based in Cleveland, Ohio.

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2 Total Pages 5 Contributing Members

Advertisement card for the Tuskegee Four

This advertisement is for performance by The Tuskegee Four, an all-female singing group associated with Liberty Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois.

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2 Total Pages 5 Contributing Members

Advertisement for A Prince of His Race

During the segregation era, an independent industry dedicated to the production of “race movies” for African American audiences emerged in response to the exclusion of black artists from Hollywood and to counter the negative, stereotypical representations of African Americans in mainstream movies. The Richards Collection features rare items that document this formative period. Larry Richards began collecting around 1986 after receiving a race film poster (The Bull-Dogger) to exhibit in the 4th annual film festival during Black History Month at the Free Library of Philadelphia. His collection of race film memorabilia spans most genres, including musicals, westerns, and horror. Richards’ collection contains over 700 objects covering a period of time from the early age of cinema up through the 1950s. Help us transcribe these race film materials and learn about some of the popular films in this genre.

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2 Total Pages 2 Contributing Members

Advertisement for the Cathrell Printing Company

Part of the music domain includes nightlife and nightclubs, which were often the centerpiece of musical life during the first half of the twentieth century. Sisters Laura “Laurie” Cathrell and Sally J. Cathrell Jr. were both involved in New York’s nightlife scene, one as a showgirl and the other as a publisher of magazines featuring famous musicians and dancers of the time. Laurie performed in many famous nightclubs throughout America including Club Plantation and the Cotton Club. She is featured in many of the photographs and magazines of this collection. Sally followed in the footsteps of their parents, and made a career in publishing and created “The Show-Down” magazine, which was devoted to nightclub life and entertainment. In volume 1, number 1, “The Showdown” magazine is described as "a monthly publication, which caters to theatricals exclusively." The magazine featured night club reviews, show reviews, and features on performers. The magazine mainly covered New York, Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, and St. Louis. Help us transcribe the photographs, magazines, and programs and discover the many famous musicians and dancers featured.

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2 Total Pages 2 Contributing Members

Advertisement for the Cathrell Printing Company [2]

Part of the music domain includes nightlife and nightclubs, which were often the centerpiece of musical life during the first half of the twentieth century. Sisters Laura “Laurie” Cathrell and Sally J. Cathrell Jr. were both involved in New York’s nightlife scene, one as a showgirl and the other as a publisher of magazines featuring famous musicians and dancers of the time. Laurie performed in many famous nightclubs throughout America including Club Plantation and the Cotton Club. She is featured in many of the photographs and magazines of this collection. Sally followed in the footsteps of their parents, and made a career in publishing and created “The Show-Down” magazine, which was devoted to nightclub life and entertainment. In volume 1, number 1, “The Showdown” magazine is described as "a monthly publication, which caters to theatricals exclusively." The magazine featured night club reviews, show reviews, and features on performers. The magazine mainly covered New York, Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, and St. Louis. Help us transcribe the photographs, magazines, and programs and discover the many famous musicians and dancers featured.

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2 Total Pages 3 Contributing Members

Advertisement for the Dixie Spiritual Singers and a drawing of a boat

This advertisement is for performance by Dixie Spiritual Singers, an all-male singing group based in Richmond, Virginia.

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2 Total Pages 2 Contributing Members

Advertisement poster for the Eveready Gospel Singers

This advertisement is for a performance by The Eveready Gospel Singers, an all-female singing group associated with the St John and Greater Friendship Baptist Churches and the Church of God in Christ in South Bend, Indiana.

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50 Total Pages 16 Contributing Members

Alma Thomas's Scrapbook for Shaw Junior High School Negro History Week, 1930-1940

Negro History Week, a precursor to Black History Month, was established by Carter Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) in 1925, and first celebrated in February 1926. At Shaw Junior High School in Washington, D.C., painter and art educator Alma Thomas organized student activities as part of the celebrations honoring African American history and culture. Her scrapbook documents the Shaw Art Gallery exhibitions and school assemblies she organized in celebration of Negro History Week from 1930-1940. The scrapbook contains programs for the festivities and photographs of students at work in Thomas's classroom.

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25 Total Pages 14 Contributing Members

An Outline of Resurrection City as Used

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference launched the Poor People’s Campaign, a national, multiethnic movement for economic justice, security, and opportunity for every American. During the Campaign, participants built a tent city, known as Resurrection City, on the 16-acre site between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument along the National Mall. John Wiebenson, a professor of architecture at the University of Maryland, College Park, led the committee that helped campaign organizers negotiate land, design the encampment, and build housing units for protesters. Published in English, French, and German, this original manuscript by Wiebenson, “An Outline of Resurrection City as Used,” explains the philosophies behind Resurrection City’s design and construction.

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