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Letter to Oscar W. Price from Colonel Charles Young, July 14, 1918

During World War One, the African American military experience was one of complexity. America entered the conflict to ensure that democracy would be safe in the world. However, for African Americans democracy at home was not guaranteed. Racism and segregation were rampant throughout the country and fighting for democracy abroad, while still feeling the sting of social, economic, and cultural discrimination was a hypocrisy many struggled with. Despite this sentiment, many African American men and women believed it was their patriotic duty to serve the war effort in some capacity. One of these young men was Sergeant Oscar W. Price. This series of letters between Price and his mentor, Colonel Charles Young, contain content of a seasoned officer advising and supporting a younger man in the military whom he considered a dear friend.

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1 Total Pages 5 Contributing Members

Letter to Oscar W. Price from Colonel Charles Young, March 27, 1919

During World War One, the African American military experience was one of complexity. America entered the conflict to ensure that democracy would be safe in the world. However, for African Americans democracy at home was not guaranteed. Racism and segregation were rampant throughout the country and fighting for democracy abroad, while still feeling the sting of social, economic, and cultural discrimination was a hypocrisy many struggled with. Despite this sentiment, many African American men and women believed it was their patriotic duty to serve the war effort in some capacity. One of these young men was Sergeant Oscar W. Price. This series of letters between Price and his mentor, Colonel Charles Young, contain content of a seasoned officer advising and supporting a younger man in the military whom he considered a dear friend.

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2 Total Pages 3 Contributing Members

Letter to Paul Kalmanovitz from the Musicians' Protective Association

Known as “America’s Greatest Sepia Piano Player” and the “Brown Bomber of Sophisticated Songs,” Gladys Bentley (12 August 1907 – 18 January 1960) was an American blues pianist, singer, and performer during the Harlem Renaissance. An African American lesbian, Bentley performed regularly in gay clubs in New York and Los Angeles while dressed in men's clothes. This letter requests payment for Gladys Bentley from the owner of a nightclub in Hollywood. At the bottom is the owner's response that Bentley's performance did not take place due to a police raid that shutdown the club alleging an "indecent performance" was taking place. Regarding a performance in 1947, this letter heralds the beginning of the McCarthy era, during which homosexuals were aggressively persecuted. By 1950, Bentley had stopped crossdressing and wrote an article claiming she had "cured" her lesbianism. In honor of Bentley and LGBTQ Pride Month, help us transcribe this artifact documenting a significant time in LGBTQ+ histories. For more information, check out NMAAHC's web portal to explore LGBTQ+ Objects in the NMAAHC Collection.

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2 Total Pages 6 Contributing Members

Letter written by John Brown and Frederick Douglass to Brown's wife and children

Frederick Douglass was born in 1808 as Frederick August Washington Bailey, the son of an enslaved woman and possibly her white enslaver in Maryland. Douglass emancipated himself at the age of 20. Over the course of his life, he shared his experiences of enslavement in three autobiographies. Douglass was a leader of the abolition movement, fighting against slavery through speeches and writings. He passed away in 1874 at his home in Washington D.C. In 1858, John Brown stayed with Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York, while planning the raid on Harper's Ferry. Brown was an American abolitionist who believed armed insurrection was the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States. Douglass was close with John Brown and his family, inviting them to stay at his home at any time. Douglass supported Brown's mission, though he did not always agree with the militant abolitionist's tactics. Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry ultimately failed and the state of Virginia tried and hanged him for treason. Several of Brown's sons were involved in the raid, as were Dauphin and William Thompson, brothers of his daughter Ruth's husband Henry, who is mentioned in this letter. Henry did not participate in the raid. Abolitionists made Brown a martyr of their cause, and his actions were a catalyst for the American Civil War. Through your transcription, we can decipher the coded language Brown and Douglass used to disguise their abolitionist dealings.

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12 Total Pages 5 Contributing Members

Letter written by John Moody to his parents about the Freedom Rides

John Moody Jr. wrote this letter to his parents from the Hinds County (Mississippi) jail on May 27, 1961. A 30-year old student at Howard University, Moody was among hundreds of “Freedom Riders” who rode buses into southern states to protest segregation on interstate buses and the terminals. Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Freedom Riders endured violence and arrest, but brought national attention to their cause. In this letter, Moody explains his reasons for joining the protest and describes the bus ride between Montgomery, Alabama and Jackson, Mississippi as well as his experiences in jail.

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14 Total Pages 8 Contributing Members

Loose pages from a magazine about the Cotton Club

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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8 Total Pages 7 Contributing Members

Martha's Vineyard NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Souvenir Journal, 1988

Martha’s Vineyard is known for its leisure activities and summers. From the 1940s to the 1980s, the Shearer Summer Theater, an African American theater company, produced shows for locals and tourists alike. The Shearer Summer Theater was the brainchild of Elizabeth “Liz” White, a dresser on Broadway, who directed, and even bought a two story house to act as the stage in the 1950s for the plays. Help us transcribe this program for a screening of Liz White’s production of Othello.

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12 Total Pages 5 Contributing Members

Mastering notes for the album Things Fall Apart by The Roots

One of the most influential hip-hop groups of this generation is The Roots. Their mixture of jazz and electronic music with live instruments was unique in hip-hop. The Roots’ frontman Questlove wrote these six pages of notes for the group’s fourth album, "Things Fall Apart," showcasing his talents as a producer and songwriter. Recorded from 1997-1999 at the Electric Lady Studios, "Things Fall Apart" steered The Roots in new musical directions and helped raise public awareness on many social issues. Help us transcribe and discover Questlove’s creative thought process as he created this amazing musical composition.

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66 Total Pages 18 Contributing Members

Minutes of the Twenty-Ninth Annual Convention of the Woman's Mite Missionary Society

The Women's Mite Missionary Society was founded in 1847 as a society to help give assistance in Haiti. The number of women who desired to work in missions grew, and the Women's Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was formed and is now operating all over the world. Help us transcribe the minutes from the Baltimore Branch of the Woman's Mite Missionary Society to learn what was discussed at their 1925 conference.

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28 Total Pages 18 Contributing Members

Mix Pictorial Magazine vol. 1 no. 3

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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