Literary Highlights of the New National Museum of African American History & Culture

There is at least one good story coming out of Washington, D.C. this election season, and that is the grand opening on Saturday of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. Thirteen years in the making, the museum has collected close to 37,000 artifacts that showcase the contributions of African Americans. It will be at the top of my to-visit list on my next trip to D.C.  

Until then, an exploration of the permanent collection through the museum’s savvy web portal, however, provides a fantastic overview of museum’s scope. Of course, these literary highlights elicited my particular interest.     

2014_280.jpgA first edition of Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman (1899). Credit: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Inkwell.jpgJames Baldwin’s glass and brass inkwell is part of a larger collection of photography and memorabilia related to the novelist and poet. Credit: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of The Baldwin Family.

2011_28_001.jpgThe Bible that belonged to slave revolt leader Nat Turner, c. 1830s. Credit: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Maurice A. Person and Noah and Brooke Porter.

Hymnal.jpgThe personal hymnal of Harriet Tubman, Gospel Hymns No. 2 (1876). Credit: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Charles L. Blockson.

                                                                                                                                                           

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 10.10.56 AM.pngA print depicting Frederick Douglass at his desk from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, c. 1879. Credit: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Joele and Fred Michaud.

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