Wanda Whitney, head of the Library’s Local History & Genealogy Section, tells how using DNA research led to her discovery of a genetic mutation that had health implications for her entire family. It’s part of the Library’s Black History Month focus on families and health.
Rosa Parks, one of the most consequential Americans of the 20th century, was born on Feb. 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her activism was galvanized decades before the Montgomery bus boycott by the sexualized violence of whites against Blacks in her native Alabama. This activism is featured in this short documentary by the Library of Congress, which holds her papers.
The Library kicks off Black History Month with a new By the People crowdsourcing project — transcribing the papers in the William A. Gladstone Afro-American Military Collection.
This is a guest post by Maria Peña, a public relations strategist in the Library’s Office of Communications. Maya Angelou broke ground as a multifaceted author, poet, actress, recording artist and civil rights activist, while Adelina “Nina” Otero-Warren left an indelible mark in New Mexico’s suffrage movement. This year, both are among five trailblazing women […]
Danielle Phillips-Cunningham teaches multicultural women’s and gender studies at Texas Woman’s University and writes about race and women’s labor history. She is writing a book about Nannie Helen Burroughs — who founded the National Association of Wage Earners, a little-known but important Black women’s labor organization — in the Library’s collection of Burrough’s papers.
The National Film Registry’s 2021 class is the most diverse in the program’s 33-year history, including blockbusters such as “Return of the Jedi,” “Selena” and “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring,” but also the ’70s midnight-movie favorite “Pink Flamingos” and a 1926 film featuring Black pilots in the daring new world of aviation, “The Flying Ace.” The Library interviewed a dozen key players about their role in inducted films, including Mark Hamill, Edward James Olmos, John Waters, and documentary filmmakers Cheryl Dunye and Sylvia Morales.
For years, artist Robert Schultz has made creative reuse of historical Civil War-era images, developing photographs from the Library’s Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Portraits in the flesh of tree and plant leaves found on former battlefields. It turned out so well that the Library has acquired some of his art.
Billy Strayhorn was an American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and lyricist, most often working for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He wrote “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Lush Life,” “Chelsea Bridge,” “Day Dream” and dozens of other standards. His papers are collected at the Library of Congress.
Hazel Scott was the gorgeous face of jazz at the mid-century; the most glamorous, well-known Black woman in America, making more than $100,000 per year, draped in custom-designed jewelry and furs. Her remarkable career is preserved in the Library’s Music Division.
Venture Smith dictated his life story in 1798, making it the first slave narrative in the United States. The Library’s original copy is extremely rare. Smith’s story is also one of the very few narratives by enslaved people who could recount their early life in Africa.