Browse Projects

next

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.

100% Complete

1 Total Pages 4 Contributing Members

"Let Freedom Ring, Let Democracy Prevail" sketch

Issues with race and racial equity have a long history in the United States (US) and so do interracial organizations forming to combat discriminatory practices and demand social justice for all Americans. The story of the Institute on Race Relations, founded by Tomlinson D. Todd (1910 – 1987), is an example of a substantive but understudied history of collaborative anti-racist activism in the District of Columbia. The organization’s aim was to combat segregation and discrimination in the Nation’s Capital through activism and the “Americans All” radio program. Help us transcribe these records, and discover how this interracial organization addressed segregation and worked to end discriminatory practices in Washington, DC.

Go

100% Complete

202 Total Pages 51 Contributing Members

"Lyrics of Love and Laughter" by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was a renowned poet, author, and playwright. In 1903 he published a collection of poems titled Lyrics of Love and Laughter. Written after a separation from his wife, a nervous breakdown, and a bout with pneumonia, this book of poems contains both “sentimental and somberly realistic expressions and depictions of black life.” Help us transcribe the more than 100 poems featured in this compilation and see how Dunbar used both dialect and standard English verse in his poetry.

Go

100% Complete

132 Total Pages 12 Contributing Members

"Poems of Cabin and Field" by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was a renowned poet, author, and playwright. “Poems of Cabin and Field,” published in 1899, is a collection of eight previously published poems by Dunbar. The book features decorations by his wife, Alice Cordelia Morse, and photographs from the Hampton Institute Camera Club. Help us transcribe Dunbar’s book of poetry that draws influence from his family’s path from slavery to freedom.

Go

100% Complete

10 Total Pages 19 Contributing Members

"Profile of a Race Riot" (1971) by Ed Wheeler

In late May 1921, the thriving African American community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, suffered the deadliest racial massacre in U.S. history. It was one in a series of actions of racist violence that convulsed the United States in towns and cities beginning with the period of Reconstruction in the late 19th century. In Tulsa, as in all of these massacres, white mobs destroyed Black communities, property, and lives. A century after the riot, the people of Tulsa and the nation continue to struggle to reckon with the massacre’s multiple legacies. Help us transcribe this magazine insert from Impact Magazine with a story by Ed Wheeler about the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Go

100% Complete

166 Total Pages 48 Contributing Members

"The 1931 Wildcat" - Wiley College Yearbook

Help us transcribe this 1931 edition of HBCU Wiley College’s yearbook, “The Wildcat” and get to know the faculty and students while learning about the types of clubs and organizations they participated in. Among these students was Henrietta Bell Wells, the first female member of the Wiley College debate team and a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Bell Wells made history by participating in the first college debate between white and African American students in 1930. This yearbook belonged to her. The Wiley College debate team defeated some of the top teams in the country and won a national title in 1935.

Go

100% Complete

246 Total Pages 99 Contributing Members

"The Conjure Woman" by Charles W. Chesnutt

Charles W. Chesnutt was an author, lawyer, and activist whose work explored social and racial relations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1899, he published his first book, “The Conjure Woman,” a collection of seven short stories that deal with race relations in both the pre- and post-Civil War South. The book is narrated by a formerly enslaved man named Uncle Julius McAdoo and a northerner named John. Uncle Julius tells the stories to John and his wife Annie who are considering purchasing an old plantation in the South. Help us transcribe this first edition publication of “The Conjure Woman” and see how Chesnutt uses the juxtaposition of the two narrators to emphasize differences in language and the complexities of race relations during this time period.

Go

100% Complete

20 Total Pages 13 Contributing Members

"The Tulsa Race Riot and Three of Its Victims" (1931) by B.C. Franklin

Buck Colbert “B.C.” Franklin (1879–1960), the son of a formerly enslaved man, was one of the first Black attorneys in Oklahoma. In the aftermath of the 1921 Race Massacre, Franklin, whose home and office were destroyed, worked out of a tent representing clients and fighting against the city’s zoning laws designed to prevent Tulsa’s Black community from rebuilding their homes after they were destroyed. Franklin wrote this manuscript on August 22, 1931, ten years after the Tulsa Race Massacre. The unpublished manuscript recounts the events of the Massacre as witnessed by the author, including an account of Franklin witnessing three men being killed by the mob. CAUTION: This document contains graphic accounts of violence.

Go

100% Complete

362 Total Pages 113 Contributing Members

"Twelve Years A Slave" by Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup (1808–1875), was born free in Saratoga Springs, New York around 1808. Northup was a farmer and professional violinist who traveled to Washington, D.C., in 1841 for a traveling musician’s job. While in Washington, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Northup was enslaved in several Louisiana plantations but was able to contact his family. His family enlisted the help of many, including the New York governor, to free Northup. At the time, New York State had a law in place that provided aid to New York citizens who had been kidnapped into slavery. After 12 years of enslavement, Northup was freed in January 1853. Later that year, Northup wrote and published his memoir, Twelve Years A Slave. Northup was more fortunate than many to gain his freedom and became active in the abolition movement and aided in the efforts of the Underground Railroad. This copy is a first edition, noted as the Seventeenth Thousand published copy in 1853. Help us transcribe this rare example of a firsthand account of an enslaved man that gripped the nation and became a rallying call for abolition.

Go

100% Complete

1 Total Pages 2 Contributing Members

"We Fought together for Freedom" sketch

Issues with race and racial equity have a long history in the United States (US) and so do interracial organizations forming to combat discriminatory practices and demand social justice for all Americans. The story of the Institute on Race Relations, founded by Tomlinson D. Todd (1910 – 1987), is an example of a substantive but understudied history of collaborative anti-racist activism in the District of Columbia. The organization’s aim was to combat segregation and discrimination in the Nation’s Capital through activism and the “Americans All” radio program. Help us transcribe these records, and discover how this interracial organization addressed segregation and worked to end discriminatory practices in Washington, DC.

Go

100% Complete

152 Total Pages 21 Contributing Members

"When Malindy Sings" by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was a renowned poet, author, and playwright. “When Malindy Sings” is a collection of Dunbar’s poems first published in 1896. The title poem, inspired by Dunbar’s mother’s love of hymns and spirituals, became one of his most famous works. In addition to Dunbar’s poetry, this second edition of the book, published in 1903, also features photographs from the Hampton Institute Camera Club. Help us transcribe Dunbar’s book of poetry that draws influence from his family’s path from slavery to freedom.

Go

Pages