Black History Month Resources

More events, online exhibitions, and resources can be found on the Smithsonian’s Black History Month pages

Go back to the main Resource Library for conversations that matter here

Podcasts & Oral Histories

A cartoon featuring an African American woman in a chef's coat and hat standing next to a tv with the words "Lena Richard's New Orleans Cook Book" on the screen.

Sidedoor Podcast, from the Smithsonian Institution

A Little Freedom is a Dangerous Thing, from A Very OK Podcast (Oklahoma Historical Society)

Collected, a project of the African American History Curatorial Collective at the National Museum of American History

Oral histories discussing immigration from the “Honoring our Heritage” collection at the Arab American National Museum

Image: Artwork for the Sidedoor episode, Lena Richard: America’s Unknown Celebrity Chef. 

Online Exhibitions

A boombox with a light brown metal cover used by Public Enemy. The boombox has a handle at the top, collapsible antennae, six speakers, a radio, a double cassette player and a number of controls.

The Negro Motorist Green Book, an exhibition offers an immersive look at the reality of travel for African Americans in mid-century America and how the annual guide served as an indispensable resource for the nation’s rising African American middle class and evidence of a vibrant business class.

Hip-Hop Origins, from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Hip-hop started with parties in the Bronx and has grown to a level of worldwide recognition and influence. Take a journey across the country as we explore hip-hop through its stories and objects.

Wilmington Massacre and Coup d’etat of 1898, from Cape Fear Museum (Wilmington, NC). In 1898, North Carolina Democrats used threats and intimidation to stop African Americans from voting. Two days after the contested election, a mob of armed white men marched to the office of The Daily Record, the local African American newspaper, and set it on fire.

The Tulsa Race Massacre, from the Oklahoma Historical Society (Oklahoma City, OK). The Tulsa Race Massacre challenges our understanding of early Oklahoma as a frontier offering freedom, opportunity, and progress to anyone. The events that transpired on the night of May 31, 1921, and the following day are difficult to comprehend, and the fact that it happened is frightening. We have a responsibility to face this chapter in order to know our history.

Race: Are We So Different?, the first in a 3- part series, created by the American Anthropological Association and extended into a Google Arts and Culture exhibit by the Museum of Us (San Diego, CA). View the other exhibits- Race and Education and Social Stratification.

Another Field of Firsts: African-American Aviators of Prince George’s County, created by College Park Aviation Museum (College Park, MD).

Image: Boombox used by Public Enemy. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Public Enemy


Virtual Scholar Talks, from Smithsonian Affiliations

Dreaming of Colored People: Black Women and the St. Luke Finance Corporation in the 1920s, Museum of American Finance (New York, NY). African American women in 1920s-era Harlem participated in real estate and other investment schemes for complex reasons. The St. Luke Finance Corporation was one such scheme that showed great promise but struggled against structural and institutional inequities as well as criticism from some sectors of the Black community.

Proud Warriors: African American Combat Units in WWII, from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum (Madison, WI). This is a virtual book talk with Dr. Alexander Bielakowski, University of Houston assistant professor of history, focusing on the role of African Americans during World War II.

From the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia, PA)

From the National Museum of the Pacific War (Fredericksburg, TX):

K-12 Resources

A 19th-century poster titled "Heroes of the Colored Race" by Joseph Hoover. It features portraits of Frederick Douglass, Blanche Bruce, Hiram Revels, and more.

Talking about Race, National Museum of African American History & Culture. Resources for teachers, caregivers, and other audiences to make the world a more equitable and just place for all.

National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis, TN) Learning Links for educators, lesson plans and activities that can be used by children, parents or families together.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, AL): Lesson Plans for K-12 students

Spy, Think, Ponder Art Cards from the Rockwell Museum (Corning, NY)
The Spy, Think, Ponder art card sets highlight works of art in The Rockwell’s collection. They incorporate youth-friendly language and fun prompts to engage children’s imagination. Children are exposed to using Visual Thinking Strategies by looking, making observations, thinking about what they see and wondering more about the topics presented.

K-12 video resources about African Americans in World War II from the National Museum of the Pacific War (Fredericksburg, TX)

Image: Heroes of the Colored Race, a hand-colored chromolithograph on paper by Joseph Hoover, 1830 – 1913. Credit- National Portrait Gallery.

Smithsonian Learning Lab Collections

Rainbow wig worn by George Clinton. A rainbow colored wig with strings of white plastic beads, various rainbow colored ribbons, purple tinsel and small plastic iridescent flowers and butterflies woven throughout.

The Smithsonian Learning Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering digital resources.

Image: Rainbow wig worn by George Clinton. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Love to the planet

Resource Compilations

Warren M. Washington collection from the National Center for Atmospheric Research archives, managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (Boulder, CO). The collection documents his scientific and professional activities as well as his significant contributions to the enhancement of opportunities for people of color in science.

Black History is Oklahoma History, from Oklahoma History Center (Oklahoma City, OK). As new voices call for change, the OHS stands committed to its mission to collect, preserve, and share the history and culture of all Oklahomans. Browse free resources related to the Black experience in Oklahoma in these pages.

Articles from Financial History Magazine, a publication of the Museum of American Finance (New York, NY)

Publications, research, K-12 educator resources and more from the Kentucky Historical Society (Frankfort, KY), which is dedicated to providing historic perspective and context to current events, especially as we look to end racial injustice and systemic racism. The resources offered cover a wide range of topics and represent the work of programs across our agency.

Freedom Stories: Unearthing the Black Heritage of Appalachia, from the International Storytelling Center (Jonesborough, TN) is an ongoing series that marries performance and discussion, connecting prominent Black storytellers, humanities scholars, and community leaders with the public to trace the history and the role that storytelling has played in both African and Appalachian experience.

Black History in Psychology, from the University of Akron, Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (Akron, OH). Geared towards high school and college students, these resources examine the contributions of Black psychologists and the broader intersections of psychology and race.

Image: A gelatin silver print of male and female students standing and reading in a library at the Manual Training and Industrial School for Colored Youth in Bordentown, New Jersey. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Howard and Ellen Greenberg

Blogs and Articles

A black pinback button. It reads [BLACK/LIVES/MATTER/everyday] in white. There are several small scratches on the pin. The back is metal and does not have anything on it other than a pin at the top.

Explore resources on history makers, videos, and Black voices and blogs from Conner Prairie (Fishers, IN)

Desegregation in the Military and Juneteenth: How Wisconsin Was There at the Beginning, by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum (Madison, WI)

Black Musicians and Music from the Birthplace of Country Music (Bristol, VA). Full list of Black History Month resources here.

Image: Pinback button stating “Black Lives Matter Everyday”, from MMM 20th Anniversary. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.