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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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11 Total Pages 23 Contributing Members

Address...Hon. Federick Douglass, delivered in the Congregational Church, on the twenty-first Anniversary of Emanicaption in the District of Columbia

On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act. The act freed approximately 3,000 slaves and paid slave owners for their release, thus ending slavery in the District of Columbia. Twenty-one years later, on the anniversary of emancipation in D.C., Frederick Douglass delivered a speech at Congregational Church. Transcribe this pamphlet to learn the details of Douglass’ speech and make it searchable for researchers.

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5 Total Pages 6 Contributing Members

Admission Tickets to the Institute on Race Relations Party

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.

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2 Total Pages 3 Contributing Members

Advertisement card for a revival featuring the Cleveland Colored Quintet

This advertisement is for a 1947 revival and musical performance at the First Church of the Nazarene in Detroit, Michigan, by the Cleveland Colored Quintet, an all-male singing group based in Cleveland, Ohio.

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2 Total Pages 3 Contributing Members

Advertisement card for the Blair Gospel Singers

This advertisement is for performance by the Blair Gospel Singers, an all-male singing group based in Indiana.

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2 Total Pages 4 Contributing Members

Advertisement card for the Down Home Quartette

This advertisement is for a performance by the Down Home Quartette, a male singing group based in Mexico, Missouri.

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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 4 Contributing Members

Advertisement for boxing match between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling

Economic despair and widespread unemployment during the Great Depression lead many Americans to seek inspiration and hope in the world of sports. When boxer Joe Louis burst onto the scene in the mid-1930s he became a symbol of pride for African Americans. During the 1930s Joe Louis and German heavyweight Max Schmeling fought two fights whose influence reached far beyond the ring. Louis lost the first fight in 1936, and Schmeling became a symbol of Nazi superiority. The second fight in 1938 was billed as a fight between democracy and fascism. When Louis won in a first-round knockout, the fight was viewed as a triumph for American democracy, though segregation was still widespread in the United States. Cheer on Joe Louis and help us transcribe a ticket from his memorable 1938 knockout against Max Schmeling.

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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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