African American History Month Programs
Press Release · Thursday, January 28, 2021

Washington, DC

To honor African American History month, the National Archives presents programs on the continuing struggle for Black equality and civil rights, on topics ranging from the Underground Railroad to the Harlem Globetrotters! These programs are free, but advance registration is required to livestream the events. All will be available afterward on the National Archives YouTube Channel. Black History Month Programming is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation, through the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund. 

BOOK TALK: South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to the Civil War 
Thursday, February 4, at 1 pm
The Underground Railroad promised salvation to many American slaves before the Civil War. But thousands of people in the south-central United States escaped slavery not by heading north but by crossing the southern border into Mexico, where slavery had been abolished in 1837. In South to Freedom, historian Alice L. Baumgartner tells the story of why Mexico abolished slavery and how its increasingly radical antislavery policies fueled the sectional crisis in the United States. Register online; watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel.

BOOK TALK: The Rope: A True Story of Murder, Heroism, and the Dawn of the NAACP 
Tuesday, February 9, at 1 p.m.
In November of 1910, in Asbury Park, NJ, 10-year-old Marie Smith was brutally murdered. After days of investigation, Asbury Park and county officials were at their wits’ end in their attempt to pin the crime on two suspects, one White, one Black. In The Rope, Alex Tresniowski tells the remarkable true-crime story of the murder of Marie Smith, the dawn of modern criminal detection, and the launch of the NAACP. Register online; watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel.

RECORDS TALK: Migrant Farm Workers and the Evolution of U.S. Farm Labor Programs
Wednesday, February 10, at 2 p.m.
In this Know Your Records Program, Gabrielle Hutchins, an archivist at the National Archives, discusses federal records documenting migrant farm workers’ participation in farm labor programs in the United States. By examining records in the Bracero, H-2A guest worker programs and other related record groups, we can identify their stories from 1942 to the present. Watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel.

Thursday, February 11, at 11 a.m.
In this special program, part of the new series: National Archives Comes Alive!, Harriet Tubman is portrayed by Daisy Century, teacher and inspirational actor with American Historical Theatre. Harriet Tubman’s indomitable spirit, valor, and fearless actions as an abolitionist, Union nurse and spy, suffragist, and humanitarian continue to inspire children and adults today. Viewers can write their questions in the YouTube chat  for the Q&A session with Harriet Tubman following the presentation. Watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel.

BOOK TALK: Nine Days: The Race to Save Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life and Win the 1960 Election 
Thursday, February 11, at 5 p.m.
Less than three weeks before the 1960 Presidential election, 31-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr., was arrested at a sit-in at Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta. Stephen and Paul Kendrick’s Nine Days tells the story of  the ultimate October surprise: an emerging and controversial civil rights leader was languishing behind bars, and the two Presidential campaigns raced to decide whether, and how, to respond. Three of John F. Kennedy’s civil rights staffers went rogue to free King―a move that changed the face of the Democratic Party and propelled Kennedy to the White House. Register online; watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel.

BOOK TALK: Calhoun: American Heretic 
Monday, February 22, at noon
John C. Calhoun is among the most notorious and enigmatic figures in American political history. He is perhaps most known for arguing in favor of slavery as a “positive good” and for his famous doctrine of “state interposition,” which laid the groundwork for the South to secede from the Union. In this new biography, Robert Elder shows that Calhoun is even more broadly significant than these events suggest, and that his story is crucial for understanding today’s political climate. Register online; watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel.

PANEL DISCUSSION: The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity
Thursday, February 25, at 7 p.m.
The Black family continues to be a topic of study across disciplines—history, literature, the visual arts, film, sociology, anthropology, and social policy — and a rich tapestry for exploring African American life. A panel will discuss Black family traditions, brothers and sisters, power couples, and community. Moderated by Ida E. Jones, University Archivist at Morgan State University, panelists include: Alison Parker, author of Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell; Darius Young, author of Robert R. Church Jr. and the African American Political Struggle; John Whittington Franklin and Karen Roberts Franklin, Franklin Global LLC; and Barbara Spencer Dunn, Association for the Study of African American Life and History Vice President for Membership. Presented in partnership with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Register online; watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel.

PANEL/BOOK TALK: Spinning the Globe: The History and Legacy of the Harlem Globetrotters
Friday, February 26 at 7pm
Join us for a fascinating event as two current Globetrotters, Fatima “TNT” Lister and Charles “Handles” Franklin, and former player and coach “Sweet Lou” Dunbar join Ben Green, author of Spinning the Globe: The Rise, Fall, and Return to Greatness of the Harlem Globetrotters. Founded in 1926 by Abe Saperstein, the legendary Harlem Globetrotters basketball team has since entertained millions of people. Originally all-male and all-African American, the team has since become more diverse. Since the 1950s, the Globetrotters have traveled worldwide as “Ambassadors of Goodwill” for the U.S. State Department. Drawing on National Archives’ records, this panel will discuss the Globetrotters’ history and legacy. Register online; watch the live stream on our YouTube Channel.


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This page was last reviewed on February 2, 2021.
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