Tulsa Race Riot Featured in African American History and Culture Museum

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of James H Wallace Jr. James Wallace. March on Washington - Marchers gathering at the Lincoln Memorial after walking from the Washington Monument grounds.  The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963. Attended by some 250,000 people, it was the largest demonstration ever seen in the nation's capital, and one of the first to have extensive television coverage. It was organized principally by A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King, Jr. During this March, King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Between 200,000 and 500,000 people were in attendance.

As the only national museum that focuses solely on the culture, history and lives of African Americans, the 36,000 artifacts span in time from the 1760s to the modern era, addressing topics like civil rights, literature, slavery, segregation, religion and more. Included in the artifacts are badges, Bibles, clothing, photography, newspaper clippings, letters and a wide variety of other objects that highlight historical events, renowned people and distrinct eras. The museum contains a variety of items in its collection with an Oklahoma connection, including an array of artifacts from the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. The riot left an unknown number dead after a one-night race riot in the Greenwood District of Tulsa. Artifacts of the riot include charred riot pennies, photographs of protestors and subsequent damage to Tulsa, letters, protest signs and more.

President Obama delivered a speech at the opening ceremony on the National Mall, explaining that the story of American Americans “perhaps needs to be told now more than ever.” Hundreds lined up on Sunday – the first full day the museum was open to the public – for a chance to explore the museum and its many offerings.

To explore the wide array of artifacts, see pictures and learn more about the mission of the museum, head to nmaahc.si.edu.