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Slavery & Freedom: Videos

Cover image for Freedom Calling video

Freedom Calling

Interactive Tour with Founding Director Lonnie Bunch

NMAAHC Founding Director Lonnie Bunch highlights stories behind iconic objects in the Slavery and Freedom exhibition

Cover Image for Visitor Voices video

Visitor Voices

Museum visitors share their stories and reflections on the Slavery and Freedom exhibition

Image of Emancipation Proclamation wall panel

Emancipation Proclamation Legacy

Historians and other experts discuss the impact of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation

Slavery & Freedom: Centers, Initiatives, & Programs

Image from Center For Study of Global Slavery

Center for the Study of Global Slavery

Advancing the understanding of slavery and its enduring legacies, through research, scholarship, and outreach programs

Image of Smith Center

The Robert F. Smith Fund

Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History

Using innovative technology to preserve, share, and expand access to African American history and culture

Cover image for the Juneteenth event


Celebration of Resilience

Discover ways to celebrate this African American cultural tradition of music, food and freedom

Image of document from Freedmens Bureau

Freedmen’s Bureau Records

Explore and help transcribe records about the lives of newly freed people during Reconstruction

Slavery & Freedom: Collection Stories

Image of NMAAHC collections search document

NMAAHC Collection Search


Search the Museum’s online collection for artifacts related to the history of slavery

Image of Black family

We Are Family

A photograph reveals a story of kinship bonds that survived bondage

Image of document written in Arabic

African Muslims in Early America

Enslaved Muslims used their faith and bilingual literacy to build community, resist slavery, and pursue freedom

Photograph of ornate bowl

A Tree with Many Branches

Clara Ellis Payne’s family heirlooms trace back to ancestors who were enslaved by President James Madison

Slavery & Freedom: Blog Posts

Photograph of Sojourner Truth

The Journey to Emancipation

The Germantown Protest, 1688

Image of historic map of Vermont

Vermont 1777

Early Steps Against Slavery

Photograph of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

"What to the American Slave Is Your Fourth of July?"

Composite photograph of Dred Scott and Roger Taney

The Human Factor of History

Dred Scott and Roger B. Taney

Illustration of 13th amendment
Photograph of Black woman
Image of man on exploration boat

The "Clotilda" Has Been Found

Slave Wrecks Project

Illustration of crowd at Watch Night gathering

Making a Way Out of No Way: Collection Searches

A placard used during the Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017. The corrugated cardboard placard is mostly yellow with white and blue text. The top third of the placard depicts six (6) cartoon portraits of women of varying ethnicities. All the women are depicted from the chin up and they are all smiling and looking at the viewer. The woman on the far left is depicted with blue cat eyeglasses. The women second from the left is depicted with blue hair with straight bangs across her forehead and a black headband. The third woman from the left is depicted with curly hair and blue, diamond shaped earrings. The third woman from the right is depicted with braids on either side of her head. The women second from the right is depicted with black hair with straight bangs across her forehead. The woman on the far right is depicted with white hair and eyebrows. Below the women’s heads is a band of black plastic tape. The bottom two thirds of the placard are yellow with white painted text outlined with blue and blue painted text that reads [WOMEN'S RIGHTS / are / HUMAN RIGHTS]. The word [are] is accessed on either side with two (2) five (5) pointed blue stars. The words [WOMEN'S] and [RIGHTS] are underlined with black plastic tape. The back of the placard is undecorated brown cardboard. Thick pieces of clear tape hold the four (4) pieces of cardboard together that comprise the placard.


NMAAHC Collection Search

Search the Museum’s online collection for items related to historical and contemporary activism

Black and white photograph of Honor Roll student depicts nine young men posing in a group. Standing in front of a brick wall, they stand below large letters that spell "AUGUSTINE HIGH SCHOOL."


NMAAHC Collection Search

Search the Museum’s online collection for items related to education

Light brown egg carton for one dozen eggs.


NMAAHC Collection Search

Search the Museum’s online collection for items related to business, entrepreneurship, and the pursuit of economic independence

This gelatin silver print depicts a black and white image of church members praying.


NMAAHC Collection Search

Search the Museum’s online collection for items related to religion and faith practices

Daughters of I.B.P.O.E. of W. member badge. At the top is a rectangular gold-colored metal bar with a pin back.


NMAAHC Collection Search

Search the Museum’s online collection for items related to African American organizations

An issue of the Colored American Magazine with staples removed. The cover is printed in red ink and features a decorative design of roses by Theodore R. M. Hanné. The frontispiece is an image of E. Azalia Hackley. The issue features several poems but largely focuses on a celebration of industriousness and business success. The issue also includes illustrations and descriptions, including ones of Dr. Henry McKee Minton, President William Howard Taft, and the faculty and students of Georgia State College. The pages of this issue are numbered 134 to 185, for a total of 52 numbered pages. There are two pages of unnumbered advertisements at the beginning of the issue, and there are seven pages of unnumbered advertisements at the end of the issue.

The Black Press

NMAAHC Collection Search

Search the Museum’s online collection for items related to the history of publishing and the Black press

Making a Way Out of No Way: Centers, Initiatives, and Programs

A digital image of The March on Washington - Marchers gathering at the Lincoln Memorial after walking from Washington Monument grounds, August 28, 1963.

Civil Rights History Project

Oral history interviews with unsung activists of the 1950s and 1960s, produced by NMAAHC and the Library of Congress

History, Rebellion, Reconciliation public programs banner

History, Rebellion, and Reconciliation

Communities Mobilized for Social Change

A series of public programs presented by NMAAHC examining race, justice, and community activism

This mixed media artwork by Jeff Donaldson shows the Wives of Sango.

Center for the Study of African American Religious Life

Through innovative scholarship, public programs, and collecting, NMAAHC’s Center for the Study of African American Religious Life expands the ways religion is acknowledged and explored

Image of educators at the NMAAHC museum

NMAAHC Educator Programs

Learn more about our Teaching and Learning Unit and Early Childhood Education Initiative

Making a Way Out of No Way: Stories and Digital Exhibitions

City of Hope cover image

City of Hope

Resurrection City & the 1968 Poor People's Campaign

NMAAHC special exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign for economic justice

Chez Baldwin cover image

Chez Baldwin

An exploration of James Baldwin’s life and work as a writer and activist through the lens of his house in St. Paul de Vence, France

A black and white photograph of six African American women at a Black Panther rally.

Seeing Black Women in Power

Politics, Language, Power, and Image

Photography and art from the NMAAHC collection reveal how Black women have employed language and voice to demonstrate political power and engage in activism

lanked by fellow pilgrims, Muhammad Ali, former heavyweight champion of the world, prays inside the Holy Mosque in Mecca during his New Year's pilgrimage to the spiritual center of the Moslem world

Muslim Artifacts at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Discover how the material culture of African American Muslims helps to document the African American religious experience—its diversity, its origins, and its potency in the struggle for uplift and liberation

Chicago Defender Illustration

Remembering the Chicago Defender, Print Edition (1905–2019)

Learn more about the history and legacy of this groundbreaking Black newspaper

A colored photograph of Toni Morrison, looking directly at the camera. She is resting her chin on her fist, which is holding a pencil.

(Re)Creating the Narrative

The Black Women’s Literary Renaissance of the 1970s

In constructing their own narratives, Black women writers of the 1970s experimented with and expanded traditional boundaries of literature

Muhammad Ali Boxing photograph

75 Years of Ebony Magazine

Explore the Johnson Publishing Collection and celebrate 75 years of Ebony Magazine and the African American experience

Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures

A sliver space vehicle with multiple legs and colored lights, replicating the originally Mothership.

Afrofuturism NMAAHC Collections Search

Search the Museum’s collection to find object related to Afrofuturism

Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures

This illustrated companion book to NMAAHC’s Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures exhibition explores the power of Afrofuturism to reclaim the past and reimagine Black futures.

A screenshot of a the presentation title slide for Claiming Space. It has a graphic of two saturated colors in a collage look.

Claiming Space Symposium: Presented by the Smithsonian Afrofuturism Series

The Claiming Space Symposium examines Afrofuturist thought across oceans, into land reclamations, up to the stars, through cyberspace, and inward as Black visionaries look to the infinite space within.

Afrofuturism: The Orgin title slide for the presentation. It has women dressed in modernize, futurist African outfits, collaged together.
A blue flyer for Afrofuturism: A history of Black Futures. Three images are overlaying each other on the right and information about the challenge is on the left.

Make Good the Promises: Reconstruction and Its Legacies

A drawing by A.R Waud depicts disagreement between a white and black crowd of people about the Freedmen's Bureau.

Reconstruction NMAAHC Collections Search

Search the Museum’s collection to find objects related to Reconstruction.

The website from the Freedman Burerau Search Portal, which has an image of a handwritten record

Make Good the Promises: Reconstruction and Its Legacies

This illustrated companion book to Make Good the Promises explores how Black Lives Matter, #SayHerName, antiracism and other current movements for repair find inspiration from the lessons of Reconstruction.

The cover of the book has a Black family a father soldier, wife and two kids over the title of the book.

Freedmen’s Bureau Search Portal

Access millions of records documenting the names and lives of African Americans during Reconstruction.

The website of the report has the title Reconstruction in America against a black background, above photo of a statue.

Reconstruction in America

The Equal Justice Initiative’s report on Reconstruction documents the discrimination and violence against African Americans after the end of slavery.

A screenshot from the website that has a map and a black and white photo of a family

Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery

Explore the newspaper ads formerly enslaved African Americans placed hoping to reunite with loved ones after slavery.

A screenshot of the blog post with a cover image of an painting with a purple overlay under the title, Defining Freedom

Defining Freedom: Securing the Promise of the 13th Amendment

The 13th Amendment formally abolished slavery throughout the United States. But ending slavery was only a first step toward securing full freedom and citizenship rights for African Americans.

A screenshot of the blog post with a cover image of a Black man standing in front of an American flag.

Reconstructing Citizenship

Although its promises have not always been upheld, the 14th Amendment has provided a legal basis to challenge discrimination, demand equal rights and protections, and effect change.

A screenshot of the website with a cover image of Black women protesting.

150 Years and Counting

More than 150 years after the 15th Amendment was ratified, African Americans are still fighting for equal access to the ballot box.

A screenshot of a website with the cover image of an illustration of Freedmen's Bureau.

Colored Convention Project

Explore the proceedings of Colored Conventions from 1830 to 1899 and learn more about Black political organizing in the 19th century.