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Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory | Legal: si.edu/legal | WatchingOprah now open!

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NMAAHC

In 1870, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School was established as the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth. The school opened with 15 students and one teacher, Emma J. Hutchins, after efforts to integrate Washington, D.C. school's failed. Dunbar High competed with Northern integrated private schools to prepare D.C.'s black student community for college enrollment by offering courses in English, foreign languages, philosophy, and calculus.
Their rigorous curriculum successfully sent two-thirds of each graduating class to college or university, with professions ranging from playwright to physicist. The school had many notable principals to include Mary Jane Patterson, one of the first African American women college graduates, Richard T. Greener, the first African American graduate of Harvard, and Anna Julia Cooper, one of the first African American women to earn a Ph.D. Dunbar held many locations until it found a home on M Street in 1891 until 1916 as the M Street High School. It was renamed Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in honor of the African American poet. #APeoplesJourney
📸: Scurlock Studio Records, ca. 1905-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History


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NMAAHC

We've partnered with @netflix to celebrate our inaugural Smithsonian African American Film Festival! Cinema, history and culture come together to celebrate African American visual culture and film. As part of the festival, Netflix will screen their upcoming documentary QUINCY followed by a conversation with Quincy Jones.
QUINCY is an intimate look at the life and work of music icon Quincy Jones. Jones is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame-inducted record and film producer who has garnered numerous Grammys and Academy Award nominations. Directed by his daughter Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks, the documentary weaves never-before-seen archival footage and interviews to give a fresh look at the life and 70-year career of one of the world’s most influential musicians, producers and artists.

#AAFilmFest #StrongBlackLead #APeoplesJourney


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NMAAHC

After the Civil War, the federal government took steps to ensure that public education was available for all citizens. However, the end of Reconstruction halted progress, and local control of school systems in the South prolonged segregation. Separate public education facilities for African American students were limited to elementary schools, and these received fewer resources, including out-of-date books and inadequate buildings.
Whether enslaved or free, of limited means or privileged backgrounds, African Americans—like so many Americans—viewed education as the key to changing their status. Communities banded together to build and support schools, and parents sacrificed to send their children far from home. Despite various obstacles, African Americans' quest for education—from the basics to higher intellectual pursuits—established a lasting legacy of achievement. #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory
📸: Interior of an African American schoolhouse, Library of Congress.


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NMAAHC

Artist @kadirnelson paid @smithsoniannpg a visit to see his painting of Henrietta Lacks, “The Mother of Modern Medicine.”
Commissioned by HBO, Nelson used visual elements to convey Lacks’ legacy. The wallpaper features the “Flower of Life,” a symbol of immortality; the flowers on her dress recall images of cell structures; and two missing buttons allude to the cells taken from her body without permission.
This painting is a joint acquisition of our museum and @smithsoniannpg. #HiddenHerstory #APeoplesJourney #myNPG #flashbackfriday #repost


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NMAAHC

This is one of forty-three snapshots from the day former Alabama Governor George Wallace blocked the front of the doors of the University of Alabama, in an attempt to keep Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood from entering the school.
In 1963, Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood became the first African Americans to enroll at the University of Alabama. On registration day, Governor George Wallace stood in front of the door—planning to prevent their entry and uphold his promise of “Segregation now, segregation today, segregation forever.” President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 11111, federalizing the National Guard to command Wallace step aside. The first photograph shows Jones leaving Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama after registering for classes. Malone later graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in business management. #APeoplesJourney #HiddenHerstory
📸: Courtesy Alabama Department of Archives and History


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NMAAHC

In the 1948 case Sipuel v. Board of Regents of University of Oklahoma, the Supreme Court ruled that Oklahoma must provide equal education to African American students. This ruling was the result of one woman's journey, Ada Lois Sipuel, to pursue higher education and fight for social justice.
On January 14, 1946, Sipuel applied to law school at the University of Oklahoma, with the hope of overturning segregationist policies. When Sipuel was not admitted on the basis of race, she petitioned the district court. It took two years for the Supreme Court to hear her case, and the legal counsel of Judge Thurgood Marshall. The Supreme Court unanimously agreed in favor of Sipuel to integrate all-white state law schools. The case was a significant victory in the civil rights movement and set a precedent for the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. #APeoplesJourney #HiddenHerstory
📸: Ada Sipuel signing the register of attorneys, 1952. 21412.M657.12, Z. P. Meyers/Barney Hillerman Photographic Collection, OHS, Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society.


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NMAAHC

Did you know the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling did not apply to schools in Washington, DC?
#Onthisday in 1950, local barber and civil rights activist Gardner Bishop escorted 11 African American students to the newly built John Phillips Sousa Junior High School in Washington, D.C. to enroll for their first day of school. The students were denied enrollment by the principal solely based on race. Gardner, leader of the Consolidated Parents Group, aimed his focus on challenging the "separate but equal" ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), citing the less than equal accommodations in the District of Columbia. Washington, DC's schools for African Americans were overcrowded and lacked the necessary classroom supplies, while the all-white schools were well appointed and were not at capacity. Spottswood Bolling Jr., one of the students who attempted to enroll at Sousa Junior High would be the first listed on the suit brought against DC's school superintendent C. Melvin Sharpe.
Bolling v. C. Melvin Sharpe was decided on the same day as the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education. In a separate ruling on May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that segregation in D.C. public schools was unconstitutional under the 5th Amendment, since the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment applies only to states. #APeoplesJourney
📸: "School integration. Barnard School, Washington, D.C.," May 1955 by Thomas J. O'Halloran, Library of Congress. "Integration in D.C. Schools," December 1964 by Warren K. Leffler, Library of Congress.


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Join us in September for Walk-Up Weekdays!
Visitors may enter the museum on a first-come, first-served basis Monday through Friday for the entire month of September.
Passes are still required for weekend visits. Learn More: s.si.edu/2HpQXlx #APeoplesJourney
📸: #repost via @adenrelesonariwo in our Heritage Hall. #MotivationMonday #igdc


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Between 1861 and 1900, more than 90 institutions of higher learning were established for the purpose of educating newly freed African Americans. Founded in 1865 as Raleigh Institute, Shaw University is the oldest #HBCU in the South. Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, it was renamed Shaw Collegiate Institute — after Elijah Shaw’s donation to build Shaw Hall, the first building on campus.
Estey Hall was built in 1873, becoming the first female dormitory in the U.S. on a co-educational campus.The Leonard Medical School was founded in 1881 as the first four-year medical school in the South to train black doctors and pharmacists, it operated until 1918. Both Estey and Leonard halls have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. #APeoplesJourney
The founding presidents of North Carolina Central University, Elizabeth City State University, and Fayetteville State University were all Shaw alumni. #APeoplesJourney 📸: North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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Bennett College started as a co-educational school in 1873 in Greensboro, NC. It was run by the Freedman’s Aid Society for 50 years, beginning in 1874. The Society prioritized the education of freedmen after the Civil War.

In 1926, The Women’s Home Missionary Society worked with the Board of Education of the church to establish Bennett College as a college for women. Schools especially designated for women and girls afforded them access to education and created pathways to new careers as women increasingly left the domestic sector.
Bennett College students were also heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement. On February 11, 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech at Bennett, after being denied the opportunity to have a platform anywhere else in Greensboro. Bettye Davis, class of 1963, also led a sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter with students from nearby North Carolina A&T. #APeoplesJourney #HBCU 📸: Courtesy the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University Libraries and the Thomas F. Holgate Digital Library


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It's back to school season and we're celebrating the history of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)! These photos showcase students on the campus of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in the early days since the school's founding. FAMU was founded in 1887, as the State Normal College for Colored Students in Tallahassee.
On October 3, 1887, it began classes with fifteen students and two instructors. Prominently located on the highest hill in Florida’s capital city of Tallahassee, Florida A&M University remains the only historically black university in the State University System of Florida. In 1997, FAMU was selected "College of the Year" in TIME Magazine's Princeton Review, the first school selected for this honor. #APeoplesJourney #HBCU
📸: Florida A&M vs. Morris Brown football game, a mathematics class, a typing class, and the Florida A & M College girls basketball team, ca. 1920s, State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.


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NMAAHC

In 1876, Samuel Meharry, along with his four brothers, gave $30,000 in cash and property to fund what is now known as Meharry Medical College. Helping to establish the first medical institution for African American students in Nashville, Tennessee.
The story goes, that Samuel Meharry was hauling salt through Kentucky when a wagon accident led him searching for help. With limited options, he looked to a small cabin that housed a family of freedmen. Risking their freedom— the family offered Meharry food and shelter for the night. The next morning they assisted him so that he could continue his journey. Floored by their kindness, Meharry insisted that although he was penniless at the time, he would do something for their race when he was able.
Today, Meharry remains the largest private HBCU dedicated to the health and medical professions. #APeoplesJourney #HBCU
📸: Graduating Classes, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division. The New York Public Library.


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