Fall 2019 Culture Watch: National Museum of African American History and Culture Announces 2019 Fall Programming

Programming Launches With Talk on Museum’s Latest Book, “We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity”

Programming Lineup Features Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, Susan Rice, Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Treva Lindsay

To commemorate the upcoming Veterans Day and the centennial of World War I, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has announced a public program on the museum’s latest book, We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity, Thursday, Nov. 7. Guest curator Krewasky Salter will join Howard University Professor Greg Carr for a one-on-one discussion on the WWI experience told through the lens of African American soldiers, military families, women, anti-war advocates and public intellectuals who played a vital role in WWI and how they hoped to live out post-Civil War expectations of full citizenship upon returning home. The discussion is free and open to the public. More information about the book and the upcoming WWI exhibition is available on the museum’s website.

The book event is the highlight of an lively November programming schedule that also features a program on African American feminism with Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Treva Lindsay, an intimate conversation with former National Security Adviser to President Obama and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and an interactive program on how economic and social inequities negatively affect the health of communities of color in the latest installment of the program series, A Seat at the Table.

All programs held in the museum’s Oprah Winfrey Theater will stream live on the museum’s Ustream channel at ustream.tv.

November Programming

Lectures & Discussion: Is Womanist To Feminist As Purple Is To Lavender?: African American Women Writers and Scholars Discuss Feminism

Saturday, Nov. 2; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

Inspired by Alice Walker’s expression on feminism, Is Womanist To Feminist As Purple Is To Lavender? African American Women Writers and Scholars Discuss Feminism refers to a quotation taken from her seminal anthology of essays, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose. In the piece, Walker gave name to the idea of the importance of theorizing feminism from an African American perspective. Through performance and discussion, the program will explore feminism and womanism in contemporary African American women’s intellectual and literary thought featuring Beverly Guy-Sheftall, a pioneering veteran of the field of African American feminism, and Treva Lindsey, a leading representative of the contemporary generation of feminist scholars. Before and after the discussion, two dynamic poetry performers, Holly Bass and Venus Thrash, will explore feminism creatively. The program will end with an audience Q&A and book signing. Admission is free; however, registration is required at https://nmaahc.si.edu/event/upcoming.

A Seat at the Table: Racial Disparities and Health

Sunday, Nov. 3; 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Heritage Hall)

The museum will host a thought-provoking conversation on racial disparities in health outcomes in this latest installment of the A Seat at the Table program series. Cindy George of Texas Medical Center’s TMC Pulse magazine will moderate a discussion between National Medical Association Director Martin Hamlette and University of Maryland Professor Craig Fryer about how economic and social inequities negatively impact the health outcomes of communities of color. After the presentation, audience participants will have the opportunity to share their stories and ideas on ways of improving their health and the health of their communities. A Seat at the Table is an interactive program for participants to consider challenging questions about race, identity and economic justice over a family-style meal. To purchase tickets and to learn about the latest installment of A Seat at the Table, visit https://nmaahc.si.edu/event/upcoming.

Lectures & Discussion: We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity

Thursday, Nov. 7; 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

Photo Courtesy of the National Museum of African American History and Culture)

Ahead of Veterans Day, the museum will host a public program on the its latest book: We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity. Through essays and photos, the book tells the stories of how black soldiers fought a war abroad and came home to combat racial injustices in the United States. Copies of the book will be available in Heritage Hall. For ticket information and more details on the book event, visit https://nmaahc.si.edu/event/upcoming.

Cinema at NMAAHC: WAVES

Sunday, Nov. 10; 2 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

The museum will host a special screening of the movie Waves. The film, starring Sterling K. Brown and Lucas Hedge, is set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida. Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African American family—led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. For ticket information and more details on the book event, visit https://nmaahc.si.edu/event/upcoming.

Cultural Expressions: Mindful Eating for the Holiday

Wednesday, Nov. 13; 7 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

To kick-off the holiday season, the museum will host a panel discussion on how we all can eat healthier during the holidays. With Thanksgiving around the corner, many Americans gather with friends and family to feast on good food. Foods enjoyed by African Americans traditionally represent an important cultural touchstone during the holidays. However, many dishes, while delicious, are not always the healthiest choices. In this program, nutritionists and food historians will discuss the history behind favorite holiday foods and how to adapt recipes using more healthful ingredients. For ticket information and more details on the book event, visit https://nmaahc.si.edu/event/upcoming.

Birthright Citizens: A History of Race & Rights in Antebellum America

Saturday, Nov. 16; noon (Robert F. Smith Family History Center, Level 2)

Special guest Martha S. Jones will discuss how African Americans fought for their legal rights through the courts, conventions and the legislative process from her award-winning book Birthright Citizens: A History of Race & Rights in Antebellum America. With a focus on 19th-century Baltimore, Birthright Citizens uses archival records and new scholarly research to uncover how free blacks influenced the terms of citizenship for all Americans. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University. To register for the event, email familyhistorycenter@si.edu.

December Programming

Tough Love: Conversation Between Susan Rice and Lonnie G. Bunch III

Tuesday, Dec. 3; 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

Susan Rice, former national security adviser and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will discuss her recently published memoir, Tough Love. Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III will be in conversation with Rice for an hour, focusing on the challenges that Rice faced while leading the National Security Agency during the Obama administration, along with pivotal moments in her storied career. Books will be available for sale and signing courtesy of Smithsonian Enterprises. For ticket information and more details on the book event, visit https://nmaahc.si.edu/event/upcoming.

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Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Announces Fall Programming Schedule

Fall Programming Launches With Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch’s Book Event on Third Anniversary of National Museum of African American History and Culture

Two Book Discussions, Screening of the New Film “Harriet” and the 25th Anniversary Event of Furious Flower Poetry Center With Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez Are Featured

Lonnie G. Bunch III, the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian, will host a book talk Tuesday, Sept. 24, to kick off fall programming at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Bunch will join Scott Pelley of CBS 60 Minutes to discuss his new book A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump. The Washington, D.C., leg of Bunch’s national book tour celebrates the third anniversary of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened Sept. 24, 2016. A Fool’s Errand provides an inside account on how Bunch planned and managed the challenges of choosing a construction site, commissioning a team of architects, raising more than $400 million, designing exhibitions and building a collection of nearly 40,000 objects. The Washington event is sold out; however, the discussion will be streamed live. More information about the national book tour is available on the museum’s website.

Scheduled fall programming features two book discussions, a LGBTQ speakeasy event with comedian Sampson McCormick and a screening of the new film Harriet. All programs held in the museum’s Oprah Winfrey Theater will stream live on the museum’s Ustream channel at ustream.tv. All programs are free.

September and October Programming

Lectures & Discussion: A Fool’s Errand by Lonnie Bunch

Tuesday, Sept. 24; 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Heritage Hall)

On the museum’s third anniversary, newly appointed Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch and Scott Pelley will delve deeply into Bunch’s latest book, A Fool’s Errand, which chronicles the strategies, support systems and coalitions he put in place to build the Smithsonian’s 19th museum, one that would attract more than 4 million visitors during its first two years. The book goes on sale the same day, Sept. 24. The event is sold out; however, the discussion will stream live on the museum’s Facebook Live channel.


NMAAHC LIVE: Furious Flower 25

Saturday, Sept. 28; 1 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater, Heritage Hall)

To celebrate African American poets and poetry, the museum will host James Madison University’s Furious Flower Poetry Center’s 25th anniversary with eight hours of poetry-focused programming open to the public. Founded in 1994 the Furious Flower Poetry Center is the nation’s first academic center of black poetry for creative writers, scholars and poetry lovers. The festivities commence with discussions, workshops and a performance by the Swazi Poets of South Africa, beginning at 3:45 p.m. The day concludes with two hours of readings and performances by 25 of the nation’s most storied American poets, including Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Gregory Pardlo, Tyehimba Jess, Yusef Komunyakaa and Terrance Hayes. Books by participating poets will be available for sale and signing courtesy of Smithsonian Enterprises. Admission is free; however, registration is required at https://nmaahc.si.edu/event/upcoming.

A Speakeasy Evening: LGBTQ Celebration

Tuesday, Oct. 15; 7 p.m. (Museum Concourse and Oprah Winfrey Theater)

Inspired by the prohibition-era clubs of the Harlem Renaissance where speakeasies like the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom thrived, the museum invites visitors to attend a LBGTQ speakeasy for allies of all gender identities and orientations to experience camaraderie, comedy and art. The evening starts with a reception on Concourse Level with light refreshments. Following the reception, the museum will screen the short film Happy Birthday, Marsha! The fictional film reimagines transgender rights pioneers, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, in the hours leading to the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. The program will conclude with social commentary by noted comedian Sampson McCormick. Registration is required at https://nmaahc.si.edu/event/upcoming.

Historically Speaking: A DNA Story: An Adoptee Traces Her Biological Roots With Dena Chasten, Saturday, Oct. 19; noon

Special guest Dena Chasten will share her journey as a 12-year-old adoptee to find her family roots. Through public records’ search and interviews, Chasten was able to locate her birth parents and later used DNA testing to discover her identity and ancestry. Chasten will explore how a class assignment led her on a life-changing journey of self-discovery and identity affirmation. To register for the event, email familyhistorycenter@si.edu.

Historically Speaking: The Bold World by Jodie Patterson

Wednesday, Oct. 23; 7 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

Based on her memoir The Bold World, social activist and author Jodie Patterson will reveal how she reshaped her attitudes and beliefs, as well as those of her community, to meet the needs of her trans-gender son, Penelope. Patterson has been lauded for her activist work and sits on the board of a number of gender/family/human rights organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign. The discussion will be moderated by Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem. Following the discussion, Patterson’s book will be available for sale and signing courtesy of Smithsonian Books. Registration is required at https://nmaahc.si.edu/event/upcoming.

Cinema + Conversation: Harriet

Thursday, Oct. 31; 7 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater, Heritage Hall)

Harriet, “Be free or die“. directed by: Kasi Lemmons, starring: Cynthia Erivo, Janelle Monae, Leslie Odom Jr., Jennifer Nettles

Join the museum for a special screening and discussion of the new film Harriet, based on the life of iconic abolitionist and Underground Railroad-conductor Harriet Tubman. Directed by Kasi Lemmons, the biopic Harriet follows Tubman’s escape from slavery and subsequent missions to free dozens of enslaved men and women through the Underground Railroad. Details of the screening will be made available at https://nmaahc.si.edu/event/upcoming.

Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed more than 5 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu.

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III to Embark on National Book Tour

“A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump” on sale Sept. 24

Lonnie G. Bunch III, the newly appointed 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, will embark on a national tour to discuss his new book “A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump.” The tour kicks off in Chicago on Sept. 19 and takes him to seven cities in the U.S. in 2019, with more dates in 2020 to be announced.

A Fool’s Errand is the story of how one man was tasked with leading the team that created a preeminent cultural institution to document the African American story and show how that story is the quintessential American story.

This inside account of how Bunch planned and managed more than a decade of work leading up to the opening of the museum. This story informs and inspires not only readers working in museums, educational institutions and activist groups, but also those in the nonprofit and business worlds who wish to understand how to succeed—and do it spectacularly—in the face of major political and financial challenges.

Outlining the challenges of choosing a construction site, commissioning a team of architects, raising more than $400 million, designing exhibitions and building a collection of nearly 40,000 objects, Bunch also delves into his personal struggles including the stress of a high-profile undertaking.

The book goes on sale Sept. 24, the third anniversary of the museum’s opening. A public event will be held that day at the museum in Washington, D.C. in celebration of the anniversary.

During the tour stops, Bunch will discuss the book with high profile journalists and historians including Scott Pelley, Gayle King and Henry Louis “Skip” Gates. The schedule for the 2019 tour is as follows:

· Sept. 19 – Chicago Museum of History, Chicago

· Sept. 24 – The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.

In conversation with Scott Pelley, correspondent for the CBS News’ “60 Minutes”

· Oct. 1 – The Apollo Theater, New York City

In conversation with Gayle King, co-host of “CBS This Morning”

· Oct. 14 – The African American Museum in Philadelphia, a Smithsonian Affiliate (This event is private, but open to the media)

· Oct. 15 – The Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia

In conversation with Scott Stephenson, museum president and chief executive

· Oct. 22 – Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, Boston

In conversation with Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University

· Oct. 25 – The Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

· Nov. 16 – Nate Holden Theater, Los Angeles

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and now Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Prior to becoming the director, he served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society and as the associate director for curatorial affairs at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Bunch is also co-author of The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden (Smithsonian Books, 2000) and From No Return: The 221-Year Journey of the Slave Ship São José (Smithsonian Books, 2017).

Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed more than 6 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history.

Book tour tickets must be reserved at www.nmaahc.si.edu/nmaahcbooktour.

For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

National Museum of African American History and Culture Offers Walk-Up Wednesdays in April

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has announced Walk-Up Wednesdays for the entire month of April 2018. Individuals who walk up without timed-entry passes may enter the museum on a first-come, first-served basis Wednesdays, April 11, 18 and 25. Walk-up entry is subject to building capacity. The museum already has issued advance timed passes for the entire month of April. Individuals who already have advance timed passes will receive priority entry. The museum is launching Walk-Up Wednesdays in April as a pilot to test no-pass entry.

National Museum of African American History and Culture logo

National Museum of African American History and Culture logo

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened Sept. 24, 2016, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument, the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history.

Walk-Up Wednesdays in April will help us to determine how to manage visitor demand,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s founding director. “We are honored and humbled to have struck such a chord with our visitors. They stay an average of four-and-a-half hours on weekdays. We don’t want to disappoint our visitors by reaching capacity and having them wait in long lines for space to become available inside the galleries. The goal of this pilot program is to provide greater access for the public while maintaining the safety and security of our visitors.”

Pass Holders

· Individuals with advance timed-entry passes for Wednesdays in April may enter according to the time stated on their passes.

Group Visits

· The museum will continue to require advance timed passes for groups of 10 or more.

· All groups are required to present passes to gain entry to the museum.

Same-Day Online

· Same-day online passes will not be issued on Wednesdays in April.

For more information on timed passes and Walk-Up Wednesdays, visit https://nmaahc.si.edu/walk-wednesdays-april. For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat—or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.