African-American History Museum Does Justice to Women

African-American History Museum Does Justice to Women

Publication No. 14

Creative Work/Article

Lamb, Y.R. (Oct. 28, 2016). “African-American History Museum Does Justice to Women.” Women’s Media Center.


The Women’s Media Centerinvited me to write about the stories and contributions of women as they relate to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture.


The Smithsonian’s newest and 19thmuseum has created a sensation since its opening in September 2016. Nearly 3 million people around the world have stood in line to visit “the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture,” with roughly 100,000 becoming members. The museum evokes an emotional response to its holdings — only a fraction of which (about 3,000 of 37,000 objects) are on display. It has elevated interest in history, genealogy and frank discussions about race.

This article captures some of the energy of those early days through thevoices of curators, donors and visitors. As one misty-eyed woman visitor put it, “They told it all”—from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter. They told the good, the bad, and the downright ugly, but it’s an inspiring kind of sensory overload that makes you want to come back for more.

“I’m sure the ancestors stood and applauded what we all saw,” said Carol Hector-Harris, who donated a fragile letter discovered in her great-great-grandmother’s ledger. In 1851,William Lloyd Garrison, publisher of The Liberator, wrote the letter to help her ancestor, Thomas H. Jones, secure lodging and avoid arrest under the Fugitive Slave Law.

“Everything my eyes fell upon, I was saying, ‘Oh my God!’ I had my hand over my mouth. I had my hand over my heart.”

“What a tribute! What a tribute to us. I can’t wait to go back.”

This publication meets criteria No. 10 set forth on page 10 in Appendix A of Recommendation 305-2015 as an Exemplary Creative/Professional Activity:

Criteria No. 10. Authorship of works such asarticles, reviews, commentaries, multimedia, and/or other creative projects published or broadcast locally, nationally or internationally in newspapers, magazines, popular or industry-specific media (e.g., PR Tactics, JAE, Folio, AJR, CJR etc.) or on the Internet if they demonstrate high standards in the practice of the discipline.

Photo: A’Lelia Bundles with items  from her great-greatgrandmother, Madam C.J. Walker, that she donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. (Courtesy of A’Lelia Bundles)


Posted on

August 18, 2018

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