Pic of the Week: Harriet Tubman, Seen as Never Before

The restored Emily Howland Album featuring an a previously unknown portrait of Harriet Tubman, March 25, 2019. Photo by Shawn Miller.

It was a magic moment: Harriet Tubman, revealed as a woman in the fierce prime of her life. In a March 25 ceremony, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and National Museum of African American History and Culture Director Lonnie Bunch unveiled the photo album of abolitionist Emily Howland, featuring a previously unknown portrait of Tubman. The photograph, taken around 1868, captures Tubman in her mid-40s, years younger than most surviving photographs that show her late in life. Here, then, is the leader of the Underground Railroad as she would have appeared to her followers during the 19 trips she made into slave states, leading some 300 enslaved people to freedom, including her aged parents. She also served as a Union spy during the Civil War. The photograph, purchased by the Library and the Smithsonian, is on display in the NMAAHC.

African-American History Month: First Pan-African Congress

This is a guest post by Ryan Reft, a historian in the Manuscript Division. It coincides with the centenary this month of the first Pan-African Congress. The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line, author and civil rights pioneer W.E.B. DuBois famously wrote in “To the Nations of the World,” […]

African-American History Month: The Struggle for Civil Rights Past, Present and Future

This is a guest post by Lavonda Kay Broadnax, digital reference specialist in the Library’s Researcher and Reference Services Division. A few weeks ago, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work as an activist. Some 100 years before King’s powerful entry into the civil rights movement, however, the fight for civil rights […]

An 1848 Christmas Story: The Gift of Freedom

This is a guest post by Lavonda Kay Broadnax, digital reference specialist in the Library’s Research and Reference Services Division. December is a month of holidays and festivities that bring families and friends together to celebrate their good fortune and look forward to the year ahead. For the enslaved couple William and Ellen Craft, the […]

“Do the Right Thing”: National Film Registry 30/30

The following is part of a 30-post series on the Library’s Now See Hear! blog celebrating 30 years of our National Film Registry, which selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. The 30th National Film Registry selections will be announced next month. This […]

Pic of the Week: Mandela Grandson Shares Lessons He Learned from His Grandfather

Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of South African leader and humanitarian Nelson Mandela, spoke in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress on June 27 with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden about his recently published memoir, “Going to the Mountain: Life Lessons from My Grandfather.” Drawing on the memoir, Mandela talked about growing up under […]

Pride in the Library: LGBTQ+ Specialist Shares Her Story

Meg Metcalf dreamed of a career at the Library of Congress from the time she was 17, inspired by a job at a Borders bookstore in northeastern Illinois, where she worked the reference desk. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in women’s and gender studies and information science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee […]