Spirit in the Dark: Religion in Black Music, Activism, and Popular Culture

November 18, 2022 – January 2025
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Little Richard
Johnson Publishing Company Archive.
Courtesy J. Paul Getty Trust and Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
G. Marshall Wilson (1905–1998)
Little Richard praying on the steps of a church Brooklyn, New York, New York, 1957

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

Level 2, Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) gallery

See on Map Floor Plan

Spirit in the Dark examines Black religious life through a selection of photographs from the Johnson Publishing Company, publisher of Ebony, Jet, and Negro Digest. The images in the exhibition spotlight noteworthy individuals—including religious and political leaders, musicians, authors, athletes, activists, and educators—and uplift objects from the museum’s collection, many on display for the first time. Together they reflect diverse aspects of the Black religious experience and testify to the role religion has played in the struggle for human dignity and social equality.