- Items owned by Harriet Tubman, including eating utensils, a hymnal, and a linen and silk shawl given to her by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Related items include a photographic portrait of Tubman (one of only a few known to exist), and three postcards with images of Tubman’s 1913 funeral.
- The glass-topped casket originally used to display and bury the body of 14-year-old Emmett Till, the victim of racially motivated torture and murder in Mississippi. Till’s death sparked the 1950s and ’60s African American Civil Rights Movement.
- The dress which Rosa Parks was sewing the day she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 1955. Parks’ action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and her action was one of the first incidents of civil disobedience in the 1950s and ’60s African American Civil Rights Movement.
- A Selmer trumpet owned by jazz musician Louis Armstrong.
- A dress owned by actress and singer Pearl Bailey.
- A cape and jumpsuit owned by American soul singer James Brown.
- The “Mothership”, a 1,200-pound (540 kg) aluminum and acrylic glass prop created by funk music singer George Clinton and used during performances of his bands Parliament and Funkadelic. Clinton’s original “Mothership” was scrapped in 1983; this replica was crafted by Clinton in the mid-1990s and used for about five years.
- A collection of costumes designed by director and costume designer Geoffrey Holder for his 1976 musical, The Wiz (an adaptation of the L. Frank Baum novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). The costumes won the Tony Award for Best Costume Design, the play won the Tony Award for Best Musical, and Holder won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical.
- A cherry red Cadillac convertible owned by rock and roll singer Chuck Berry.
- An amplifier, speakers, and turntables used by Tony Crush a.k.a. DJ Tony Tone of the Cold Crush Brothers.
- A railroad car from Chattanooga, Tennessee, used by African American passengers during the Jim Crow era. Pete Claussen and Gulf & Ohio Railways (the company he founded in 1985) donated more than $222,000 to restore the car, which was built by the Pullman Company in 1922.
- A sign from a bus in Nashville, Tennessee, from the Jim Crow era which indicates which seating is for blacks only.
- A segregated drinking fountain from the Jim Crow era with the sign “colored” (indicating it was for use by blacks only).
- A badge from 1850, worn by an African American in Charleston, South Carolina, indicating the wearer was a slave.
- Feet and wrist manacles from the American Deep South used prior to 1860.
- Garments worn by African American slaves.
- An 1874 home from Poolesville, Maryland. The dwelling was constructed by the Jones family, who were freed slaves. The Joneses later founded an all-black community nearby.
- Boxing headgear worn by Cassius Clay (later to be known as Muhammad Ali).
- Gymnastic equipment used by artistic gymnastics champion Gabby Douglas at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Douglas was the first African American, and first non-Caucasian of any nationality, to win the women’s artistic individual all-around gold medal. She was also the first American gymnast ever to win both the team and individual all-around gold at the same Olympics.
- A Bible owned by Nat Turner, who led a slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831.
- A letter by Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader of the Haitian Revolution slave revolt in 1791.
- Dresses and other garments by fashion designer Ann Lowe. Lowe designed clothing for the Du Pont family, Roosevelt family, and the Rockefeller family. She also designed items for wealthy etiquette expert and socialite Emily Post and her family, and created Jacqueline Bouvier’s wedding dress for her 1953 marriage to John F. Kennedy.
- The Purple Heart and footlocker owned by James L. McCullin, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
- The desk of Robert Sengstacke Abbott, editor-in-chief of the Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper founded in 1905.
- A PT-13D Stearman biplane trainer aircraft operated by the United States Army Air Corps and used in 1944 for training members of the Tuskegee Airmen.
- A guard tower and cell from “Angola”, the Louisiana State Penitentiary known for much of the 20th century as a cruel, violence-prone, squalid prison where African American inmates were treated worse than slaves. NMAAHC curator Paul Gardullo said the items document how attitudes about slavery were carried over into the post-slavery prison system in the Deep South. Museum Director Lonnie Bunch acknowledged scholars’ worries that the items were controversial, but said the museum’s mission is to tell stories through the African American experience. The 20-foot (6.1 m) high guard tower will be part of an exhibit on segregation, while the 6 by 9 feet (1.8 by 2.7 m) prison cell will be in a separate exhibit on places. Both items are from Camp A, the oldest section of the prison. The cell was constructed atop slave quarters.
- The handcuffs used by police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to arrest African American Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., in 2009.
- President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign office from Falls Church, Virginia.
- The Moog synthesizer and MPC beat machine used by hip-hop producer J Dilla.
- Several paintings and pieces of terracotta sculpture from the Barnett-Aden Collection, donated by BET founder Robert L. Johnson.[g]
- Several items from the São José Paquete Africa, a sunken slave ship excavated off the coast of South Africa in 2015. The wreck is owned by Iziko Museums of South Africa, and items will be on long-term loan to the NMAAHC. (Finding a sunken slave ship, raising it, and displaying it at the museum has long been a dream of museum director Lonnie Bunch.)
- Muhammad Ali‘s boxing gloves.
The early reports regarding the National Museum of African American History are that it is fantastic. Justice Clarence Thomas is mentioned in the museum, but so is Anita Hill. The museum highlights Anita Hill’s accusations against Thomas. The new Smithsonian, which opened in September, gives Hill pride of place in an exhibit on blacks in the 1990s. The exhibit features testimonies trumpeting her courage and the surge of women’s activism that ensued, while making only peripheral reference to the nation’s second black Supreme Court justice.”
By taking sides with Thomas, and suggesting that he should have been lauded as the first Black Justice to the Supreme Court, Sarah Palin shows her ignorance of the underlying controversy, and her commitment to disparage Blacks in America. If Thomas was guilty of sexually harassing Anita Hill, then his prominence in the museum would be analogous to a Bill Cosby exhibit and a Herman Cain exhibit. Each could have a prominent picture of each famous Black man, and then pictures of each of the women they sexually harassed and/or raped.
Consider what we now know about the Thomas/Hill scandal.
- Hill is an attorney and serves at Brandeis University as a Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women’t Studies.
- She worked with Thomas at the US Department of Education and the Equal Employment Commission.
- Thomas’ character was a primary consideration for his appointment as he had served for slightly more than one year as a judge before the appointment.
- It was a private interview of Anita Hill by the FBI that was leaked to the press which lead to HIll’s testimony.
- Hill was called to testify publicly in interrogation before Congress. Thus it was not an attempt by Anita Hill to thwart confirmation.
- According to Hill, during her two years of employment as Thomas’s assistant, Thomas spoke about…such matters as women having sex with animals and films showing group sex or rape scenes,” she said, adding that on several occasions Thomas graphically described “his own sexual prowess” and the details of his anatomy. Hill also recounted an instance in which Thomas examined a can of Coke on his desk and asked, “Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?” During court session, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch implied that “Hill was working in tandem with “slick lawyers” and interest groups bent on destroying Thomas’ chances to join the court”. John Doggett an acquaintance of both Hill and Clarence called her charge “completely unfounded” and added when she chastised him not being on her side that he felt “she was somewhat unstable” and suspects histrionic personality disorder for herattention seeking.
- Four female witnesses waited outside the hearings to support Hill’s credibility, but they were not called, due to what the Los Angeles Times described as a private, compromise deal between Republicans and the Senate Judiciary CommitteeChair, Democrat Joe Biden. According to Time magazine, one of the witnesses, Angela Wright, may not have been considered credible on the issue of sexual harassment because she had been fired from the EEOC by Thomas.
- Hill agreed to take a polygraph test. The results supported the veracity of her statements; Thomas declined the test.
- After extensive debate, the United States Senate confirmed Thomas to the Supreme Court by a vote of 52–48, the narrowest margin since the 19th century.[dead link]
- Hill’s grandparents were born into slavery.
- It was Joe Biden who refused to call witnesses who would’ve supported Hill’s claims. Almost twenty years later, America still fails victims of sexual harassment and abuse.
- Justice Thomas had an obsessive interest in pornography.
- The author of a book about the scandal, has now admitted he lied.
To mark the opening of the museum to the public, the 99-year-old daughter of a former slave, Ruth Bonners, and her seven-year-old granddaughter joined the president and first lady Michelle Obama to ring the Freedom Bell, which is believed to be from the first black baptist church in the US, founded in 1776.
We still live in a country with a legal system that is, at times, ill-equipped to handle the aftermath of sexual harassment and violence, and an atmosphere in which victims are still reticent to speak up, because they know the costs are often far greater than the rewardsHill was also torn apart by elements of the press and general public. Pundit David Brock infamously described Hill as “a little bit nutty and a little slutty.” And as Hill told the NYTimes in October 1991, she faced consistent harassment as a result of her testimony. Given the recent scandals surrounding Bill Cosby and Hermain Cain it isn’t surprising that nobody believed Anita Hill at the time. When it comes to the treatment of women in 2016, our “hang-ups” are still many. But if Hill’s legacy, and its retelling in “Confirmation” can drive one thing home, it’s that there is power in speaking up.
Hopefully that power is equally important to shine a light on the malicious and destructive nature of all things Palin. She is a destructive force for women. Both professional educated women, and dedicated mothers wish she would go away. Sarah Palin represents all that is destructive for women.