Celebrating Black History Month

Discover the profound impact that African American leaders and citizens have had on American history. This Black History Month is a time to celebrate these contributions and educate the public through the inspiring stories that shaped our nation. We invite you to explore our selection of resources that offer valuable insights into the lives and accomplishments of African American leaders throughout history and the ongoing efforts toward equality.

From Freedom’s Shadow:
African Americans & the U.S. Capitol

Join us on a journey through the history of African Americans’ struggle for freedom and political representation in the U.S. Capitol. Discover the stories of those who helped build this iconic building, from enslaved individuals whose labor was crucial to its construction, to Benjamin Banneker, the son of a former slave, who contributed to the survey of the federal district.

This digital exhibit sheds light on the complex and often painful history of African Americans in America, highlighting their resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. It is a reminder that the U.S. Capitol, a symbol of freedom and democracy, was built on the backs of those who were enslaved.

Photos (c) Bruce Guthrie

A Tribute to
Congressman John Lewis

February holds a special place in our hearts as we remember the birthday of the late Congressman John Lewis, a titan of the Civil Rights Movement and a beloved figure whose legacy continues to inspire. Congressman Lewis served as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and helped to organize the March on Washington and the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. He represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District from 1986 until his passing in 2020.

In honor of his memory, we are proud to share the video of Congressman Lewis’ acceptance speech when he received the U.S. Capitol Historical Society’s Freedom Award in 2014. His contributions to revitalizing America’s democratic system were outstanding, and this recognition was well-deserved. Let us remember him and the legacy he left behind.

USCHS Symposium:
The Life and Legacy of Educator & Civil Rights Activist Mary McLeod Bethune

Watch C-SPAN’s recording of our 2022 symposium honoring educator and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune, the first African American represented in the National Statuary Hall Collection. On July 13, 2022, the U.S. Congress dedicated a statue of her in the U.S. Capitol Building.

Hosted by the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, this event features a scholarly symposium with speakers including The Honorable James Clyburn, The Honorable Kathy Castor, Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Dr. Thelma T. Daley, Dr. Allida Black, Dr. Lawrence Drake, and Dr. Camesha Whittaker.

Spotlight on African American History: Three Must-See Videos