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3 Total Pages 7 Contributing Members

Letter to Naomi Long from Reverend S.S. Jones regarding Clarence Long

Here is a handwritten letter to Naomi Long from Reverend S.S. Jones. In it, Jones praises Long on a poem she wrote to her father, Clarence Long. Reverend Jones was a Baptist minister, businessman, and amateur filmmaker. Jones was born in Tennessee to former slaves and grew up in the South before moving to Oklahoma in 1889. He became an influential Baptist minister, building and pastoring fifteen churches. Jones was a circuit preacher assigned by the National Baptist Convention to document the glories of Oklahoma's black towns of Guthrie, Muskogee, and Langston

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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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8 Total Pages 0 Contributing Members

Letters from Col. Charles Young to Sgt. Oscar W. Price

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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178 Total Pages 0 Contributing Members

Madam C. J. Walker Collection

Madam C. J. Walker (December 23, 1867 - May 25, 1919), born Sarah Breedlove, was an African American entrepreneur, educator, and philanthropist. She overcame poverty and other hardships to become a self-made millionaire. Her company, the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, manufactured, distributed, and sold hair care and beauty products, including skin care items, body powders, lipstick, and perfumes developed for African Americans. Help us transcribe information about historic artifacts related to Walker and her work to uncover the fascinating history of Madam C.J. Walker, her company, and black beauty culture in early twentieth century America

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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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548 Total Pages 0 Contributing Members

Maurice Jackson Pamphlet Collection

What is so great about pamphlets? Easy to hand out and inexpensive to print and produce, pamphlets allow any group or person, no matter their socio-economic status to share their ideas, thoughts, and opinions with audiences large and small. Pamphlets helped spread the ideas of the founding fathers, as well as the social reform movements in the 1960s. Help us transcribe this object from a collection of pamphlets related to African Americans and their intersections with the Communist Party and radical left groups. This will provide an important window into the longstanding and often overlooked relationships between the political left and African Americans in the 20th century. The pamphlets in this collection cover a variety of topics and include a biography of Angela Davis, writings by Paul Robeson, and prints discussing labor unions, the Black Power movement, and Communist, Socialist and Nationalist politics. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the family of Dr. Maurice Jackson and Laura Ginsburg.

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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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21 Total Pages 18 Contributing Members

Moslem World & The U.S.A. 1

"Moslem World & the U.S.A." was the first monthly journal about Islam in the United States. This work, edited by Abdul Basit Naeem, is from August/September 1956 and features articles by some of the most prominent Muslims of the time period, Malcom X and Elijah Muhammad. The pamphlet includes stories, editorials, sermons, and news of Muslims in America and throughout the world, including countries such as the U.S.S.R., Yemen, and India. Help us transcribe this work and take an inside look at Muslim life in America and around the world in the 1950s.

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