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ARTIFACTS
The La Amistad Incident

In 1839 the crew of the slave ship La Amistad was overthrown by the Africans it was transporting. The Africans were unsuccessfully attempting to steer the ship back to their homeland when they were encountered by the Revenue Service brig, U.S.S. Washington off of the coast of Long Island. The commander of the Washington rendered aid and brought the ship into port in Boston. After a lengthy judicial process, involving a case before the Supreme Court in which the Africans were represented by former President John Quincy Adams, the slave traders lost their claim to have the Africans deemed “property” and returned to them.

In 1856, Herman Melville published a fictional short story, Benito Cereno, based on the La Amistad incident in a collection of short stories.

For more information on the La Amistad case, please visit:
http://www.archives.gov/northeast/boston/featured-documents/amistad-warr...

The written account of Lt. Gedney, commander of the U.S.S. Washington, describing his encounter with the La Amistad The written account of Lt. Gedney, commander of the U.S.S. Washington, describing his encounter with the La Amistad
First edition of Benito Cereno written by Herman Melville. First edition of Benito Cereno written by Herman Melville.
Free Soil Party Artifacts

The Free Soil Party was the first American political party that was formed specifically to end slavery. Its first convention was held in Buffalo in 1848 and it nominated former President, Martin Van Buren as the party’s presidential nominee. While the party failed to win national office, it did win several state legislative races and was instrumental in the formation of the Republican Party in 1856, which adopted an anti-slavery plank.

Free Soil Party Campaign Broadside from 1854Free Soil Party Campaign Broadside from 1854
Martin Van Buren ribbon from the Free Soil Party convention in Buffalo from 1848Martin Van Buren ribbon from the Free Soil Party convention in Buffalo from 1848
Constitution and By-Laws of the Niagara Movement

The Niagara Movement was an attempt by African American scholars, writers, publishers and civic activists to more effectively work for civil rights in an organized fashion. This is a draft of their constitution and by-laws, as they appeared at the end of a meeting in Buffalo, NY during July of 1905. The formative experience many of these individuals had in the founding of the Niagara Movement would later help them as that group evolved into the NAACP.

Constitution and By-Laws of the Niagara MovementConstitution and By-Laws of the Niagara Movement
Seal of the Niagara MovementSeal of the Niagara Movement
Photo of some of the founding members of the Niagara MovementPhoto of some of the founding members of the Niagara Movement

Courtesy of the Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts - Amherst Libraries, the David Graham Du Bois Trust

1929 Edition of a History of Alpha Phi Alpha

Alpha Phi Alpha was the first African American Greek letter society in the United States. It was founded by seven African American male students at Cornell University. They met at St. James A.M.E. Zion Church in Ithaca, NY. The fraternity later grew and expanded nationally. Today, many distinguished leaders in business, education, politics and science are affiliated with Alpha Phi Alpha.

For more information on the first African American Greek Letter Society (Alpha Phi Alpha), please visit:
http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/alpha/

A picture of six members of the 1907 class of Alpha Phi AlphasA picture of six members of the 1907 class of Alpha Phi Alphas
A copy of A History of Alpha Phi Alpha published in 1929A copy of A History of Alpha Phi Alpha published in 1929
In 1914, Alpha Phi Alpha started publishing a magazine, The Sphinx.  It is now the second oldest continious African American publication in the nation and has become one of the most important publications in the African American community. The Sphinx Magazine

Courtesy of Cornell University’s Carl A. Kroch Library

The “Harlem Hellfighters”

Though African Americans fought bravely during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, they were not allowed to serve in the Army again until the Civil War. At the urging of abolitionists like Frederick Douglass, President Lincoln authorized the formation of African American regiments in late 1862. Over 4,000 African Americans from New York enlisted, forming three regiments, the 20th, 26th and 31st. After the war these units were eventually disbanded and the soldiers were reassigned to one of the four African American Infantry Units authorized by Congress. In 1915, New York State authorized the formation of the 15th National Guard Infantry Regiment, an African American unit. First Lieutenant Vertner Tandy of Cornell University was assigned to the Regiment, he was the first African American to pass a military commissioning exam. The Unit was eventually pressed into federal service during the First World War and was re-designated the 369th Infantry Unit. The Unit earned a distinguished war record and gained further distinction in the Second World War.

For more information about the Harlem Hellfighters, please visit:
http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/369th-infantry/

Officer’s Uniform HatOfficer’s Uniform Hat
Unit Shoulder Patch and Unit Lapel PinUnit Shoulder Patch and Unit Lapel Pin
Unit MarchUnit March

Courtesy of the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center

Other Artifacts on Display
An order of sale for a slave from October 30, 1802An order of sale for a slave from October 30, 1802
Certificate of manumission for three former slaves, dated June 14, 1818Certificate of manumission for three former slaves, dated June 14, 1818
Op-Ed piece written in 1857 by leading abolitionist and social reformer, Gerrit Smith, criticizing President James BuchananOp-Ed piece written in 1857 by leading abolitionist and social reformer, Gerrit Smith, criticizing President James Buchanan
This was a newsletter published during Sojourner Truth’s lifetime.  It often reprinted speeches she had given during her abolitionist and women’s suffrage tours.  The publication helped connect other abolitionists and suffragists from around the country.  This edition reports of her talk to a group in New Lisbon, Ohio. Courtesy of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black CultureSojourner’s Mirror
An advertisement for Madame C.J. Walker’s hair and cosmetic products from the turn of the 20th century. New York State Museum.An advertisement for Madame C.J. Walker’s hair and cosmetic products from the turn of the 20th century. New York State Museum.
A tin of Glossine, an earlier example (pre-1910) of Madam CJ Walker’s hair care products. Glossine was used as a pressing oil and was applied to the hair before using a heated metal comb. Courtesy of the New York State MuseumA tin of Glossine, an earlier example (pre-1910) of Madam CJ Walker’s hair care products.
In March of 1915 the movie, “Birth of a Nation” premiered at the Liberty Theater in New York City.  Before its premiere, members of the NAACP met with Mayor John Mtichell asking him to ban the film’s viewing because of its racist overtones, glorification of the Klu Klux Klan and promotion of racial violence.  Their effort failed to convince the Mayor and the film was shown for several weeks.  White audiences were bussed in from New Jersey and Connecticut and the Klan held a rally to intimidate NAACP members who were picketing the film.<br />
Courtesy of the Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts - Amherst Libraries, the David Graham Du Bois TrustNAACP Letter Regarding “The Birth of a Nation”
The letter was written by Hughes in May of 1941 on the 20th anniversary of the printing of his first published poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” in The Crisis.  DuBois was the editor of the publication and Hughes was thanking him for his “editorship.” Courtesy of the Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts - Amherst Libraries, the David Graham Du Bois Trust Langston Hughes' Letter to W.E.B. DuBois
The letter was written by Hughes in May of 1941 on the 20th anniversary of the printing of his first published poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” in The Crisis.  DuBois was the editor of the publication and Hughes was thanking him for his “editorship.” Courtesy of the Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts - Amherst Libraries, the David Graham Du Bois Trust Autographed copy of “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”
The letter was written by Hughes in May of 1941 on the 20th anniversary of the printing of his first published poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” in The Crisis.  DuBois was the editor of the publication and Hughes was thanking him for his “editorship.” Courtesy of the Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts - Amherst Libraries, the David Graham Du Bois TrustCover of the June 1921 edition of The Crisis
October 22, 1922 edition of The Hotel Tattler describing events occurring in Harlem during the “Harlem Renaissance”October 22, 1922 edition of The Hotel Tattler describing events occurring in Harlem during the “Harlem Renaissance”
Randolph ran for the State Assembly twice and State Comptroller once.  This campaign piece was from his 1918 Assembly  campaign.  Randolph ran on anti-lynching and equal voting rights platform. Courtesy of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black CultureA. Philip Randolph Campaign Literature
Thomas, Norman and A. Philip Randolph. Victory’s Victims: The Negro’s Future. Based on a Radio Discussion by A. Philip Randolph and Norman Thomas. Courtesy of the New York State LibraryVictory’s Victims: The Negro’s Future. Based on a Radio Discussion by A. Philip Randolph and Norman Thomas
In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) denied Marian Anderson the opportunity to perform at Constitution Hall because of the organization’s segregation policy.  In protest of this decision, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR.  Roosevelt invited Anderson to perform at the Lincoln Memorial.  Anderson would eventually perform at Constitution Hall on several occasions after the DAR revered its segregation policy. Courtesy of the National Archives-Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Eleanor Roosevelt’s Letter of Resignation from the Daughters of the American Revolution
One of several trumpets used by Armstrong during his career. Courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum and Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College Louis Armstrong Trumpet
Score for Stormy Weather with Lena Horne and Cab Calloway on the coverScore for Stormy Weather with Lena Horne and Cab Calloway on the cover
This trophy was awarded to Brown in 1957 for ranking 3rd in the nation for rushing while he was a student at Syracuse University Courtesy of Syracuse UniversityJim Brown Trophy
Because the evening was a tribute to Louis, almost every page of the program features letters and congratulatory notes to Louis from many prominent names, including Joe Glaser, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, Bob Hope, Soupy Sales, Al Hirt, Joey Adams, Count Basie, Connee Boswell, Harold Davison, Ella Fitzgerald, Andy Williams, Danny Kaye, Jimmy Stewart, Noble Sissle, Eubie Blake, Jackie Wilson, George Shearing (includes photo of Louis and Shearing), Erroll Garner, Dionne Warwick, Bing Crosby, Jerry Herman, Dizzy Gillespie, Guy Lombardo, Cab Calloway, Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer, Leonard Bernstein, Dave and Iola Brubeck, Jimmy Durante and many, many others. Program also includes many photographs of Armstrong. Courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum and Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College“The AGVA Youth Fund Salutes Louis ’Satchmo’ Armstrong,” December 2, 1965 at Carnegie Hall Program
Powell was the first African American elected to the New York City Council and New York’s first African American Congressman.  During his career he coined the phrase, “Keep the Faith, Baby,” as a way of communicating to his constituents the need for steadfastness and persistence in fighting racism and social injustice. Courtesy of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives  1967 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Campaign Album
This was the unit patch of the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Corps. Courtesy of the Tuskegee Airmen Museum, National Park Service This was the unit patch of the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Corps.

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