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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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39 Total Pages 17 Contributing Members

AfriCOBRA Meeting Minutes, 1971

AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) is an African American artist collective that was founded in 1968, first under the name COBRA (Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists), in Chicago, Illinois. The founding AfriCOBRA artists were associated with the Black Arts Movement, and the group grew out of discussions on how their art could express a Black aesthetic. The AfriCOBRA philosophy emphasized positive revolutionary ideas and community effort.
Jeff Donaldson was a co-founding life-long member, and kept extensive files on AfriCOBRA’s early years. Here we have minutes from the group's regular meetings in 1971, from his papers.

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34 Total Pages 15 Contributing Members

AfriCOBRA Meeting Minutes, 1972-1980

AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) is an African American artist collective that was founded in 1968, first under the name COBRA (Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists), in Chicago, Illinois. The founding AfriCOBRA artists were associated with the Black Arts Movement, and the group grew out of discussions on how their art could express a Black aesthetic. The AfriCOBRA philosophy emphasized positive revolutionary ideas and community effort.
Jeff Donaldson was a co-founding life-long member, and kept extensive files on AfriCOBRA’s early years. Here we have minutes from the group's regular meetings in 1972-1980, from his papers.

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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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6 Total Pages 13 Contributing Members

Behind the Apron Project: Doris Harris Interview, May 12, 1997, Part 2

Behind the Apron oral history project documents the experiences of Black oyster and clam workers in Southern Maryland. The interviews explore issues such as: the connection between land and water, between farming and the fishing industry; the communal spirit and camaraderie amongst oyster workers; the experience of women oyster workers; and the changes in the oyster packing industry resulting in a diminished African American workforce. Please view the instructions for transcribing audio collections before beginning.

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1 Total Pages 7 Contributing Members

Behind the Apron Project: Blondell Mason Interview, April 17, 1997, Part 1

Behind the Apron oral history project documents the experiences of Black oyster and clam workers in Southern Maryland. The interviews explore issues such as: the connection between land and water, between farming and the fishing industry; the communal spirit and camaraderie amongst oyster workers; the experience of women oyster workers; and the changes in the oyster packing industry resulting in a diminished African American workforce. Please view the instructions for transcribing audio collections before beginning.

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7 Total Pages 7 Contributing Members

Behind the Apron Project: Christine Gray Interview, 1997

Behind the Apron oral history project documents the experiences of Black oyster and clam workers in Southern Maryland. The interviews explore issues such as: the connection between land and water, between farming and the fishing industry; the communal spirit and camaraderie amongst oyster workers; the experience of women oyster workers; and the changes in the oyster packing industry resulting in a diminished African American workforce. Please view the instructions for transcribing audio collections before beginning.

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9 Total Pages 11 Contributing Members

Behind the Apron Project: Doris Harris Interview, May 12, 1997, Part 1

Behind the Apron oral history project documents the experiences of Black oyster and clam workers in Southern Maryland. The interviews explore issues such as: the connection between land and water, between farming and the fishing industry; the communal spirit and camaraderie amongst oyster workers; the experience of women oyster workers; and the changes in the oyster packing industry resulting in a diminished African American workforce. Please view the instructions for transcribing audio collections before beginning.

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10 Total Pages 22 Contributing Members

Behind the Apron Project: Mary Dawkins Interview, 1997

Behind the Apron oral history project documents the experiences of Black oyster and clam workers in Southern Maryland. The interviews explore issues such as: the connection between land and water, between farming and the fishing industry; the communal spirit and camaraderie amongst oyster workers; the experience of women oyster workers; and the changes in the oyster packing industry resulting in a diminished African American workforce. Please view the instructions for transcribing audio collections before beginning.

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4 Total Pages 10 Contributing Members

Behind the Apron Project: Mary Washington Interview,1997, Part 1

Behind the Apron oral history project documents the experiences of Black oyster and clam workers in Southern Maryland. The interviews explore issues such as: the connection between land and water, between farming and the fishing industry; the communal spirit and camaraderie amongst oyster workers; the experience of women oyster workers; and the changes in the oyster packing industry resulting in a diminished African American workforce. Part 2 of this interview with Mary Washington contains restricted personal information; because of this only Part 1 is available online. Please view the instructions for transcribing audio collections before beginning.

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