Now Showing: Posters from African American Movies

November 22, 2019 – April 18, 2021

Lobby card for Imitation of Life, 1928

National Museum of African American History and Culture
1400 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Level 2 Floor Plan

Now Showing recognizes that good design matters and that film posters straddle an interesting role within the film industry; they serve as both art and advertising. Through the design, movie posters can help frame ideas, create moods, and stoke interest in the film and its main characters. This exhibition recognizes the fine line of art and commerce; it celebrates the Museum’s sizable poster collection, and offers an abbreviated visual history of African Americans in cinema.

The exhibition objects are culled in large part from the Richards Collection, a poster collection acquired by the museum in 2014 that includes more than 700 film posters and lobby cards. Now Showing features original posters and lobby cards and select ephemera from the Museum’s permanent collection. It introduces audiences to some of the pioneers of black cinema, highlights the Museum’s poster collection and its continued dedication to visual culture, and it shows how films geared toward African American audiences have been presented over the years.