Objects hold history. They're evocative of stories stamped in time. As part of The Washington Post's coverage of the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History and Culture, people submitted dozens of objects that make up their own lived experiences of black history, creating a "people's museum" of personal objects, family photos and more.
Historically Black brings those objects and their stories to life through interviews, archival sound and music. The Washington Post and APM Reports are proud to collaborate in presenting these rich personal histories, hosted by Michele Norris and narrated by Keegan-Michael Key, Roxane Gay, Issa Rae, and Another Round podcast duo Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton.
During World War II, a labor shortage obliged the military to hire African American women with mathematical skills to help make complicated computations for warplane designs. This small team of black women faced discrimination but eventually would help NASA astronauts land on the moon. One woman whose grandmother was a "computer" helps tell the story.
The Million Man March of 1995 is recreated through the conversation between a young woman and her father, who attended it. He talks about how the event changed his life, and she recalls what it meant to see a poster of the march hanging on the wall of her father's den since she was a girl.
And James Van Der Zee was a celebrated African American photographer who documented black New York for much of the 20th century. Van Der Zee was New York's leading black photographer during the Harlem Renaissance. His images emphasized the dignity, beauty and prosperity of black people at a time when the dominant culture didn't.
Listen Wednesday, February 15 at 9pm on 93.9FM