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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will close out the year with several special public programs, including a musical concert by the 369th Experience band to celebrate African American veterans and conversations in the Oprah Winfrey Theater with 2018 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award honorees singer Janelle Monae and U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.
369th Experience Band Concert to Commemorate Veterans
Friday, Nov. 9; 7 p.m.
The 369th Experience is an official program of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission to honor the historic 369th Regimental Band. The band supported the heroic Harlem Hell Fighters, an African American infantry unit in World War I. The 369th Experience consists of 42 outstanding musicians selected from historically black colleges and universities from across the U.S. The performances highlight the genius of James Reese Europe, the original Regimental Band director, and vocalist, Noble Sissle. The 369th Experience is part of a series of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I. The descendants of Europe and Sissle, James Reese Europe III, Noble Sissle Jr. and Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, will also participate in the program. A post-concert discussion ends the evening. Registration is encouraged, though walk-ups are welcomed.
District Treasures: Save Our African American Treasures
Wednesday, Nov. 14; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Save Our African American Treasures is a collaboration among cultural institutions, community leaders and the public to preserve and collect African American material culture. Participants can attend a one-on-one session with preservation specialists and receive a professional review of their family treasures and heirlooms. Attendees will gain insight on the historical significance of their items and best practices for preservation. This event will focus on paper and photographs. Admission is free, but registration is required.
Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood – Another View of James Baldwin
Sunday, Dec. 16; 4 p.m.
Noted actor and childhood literacy advocate Lavar Burton will perform selected readings from James Baldwin’s only children’s book, Little Man, Little Man. This book chronicles the intricacies of African American children in 1970s Harlem. Little Man, Little Man was originally published in 1976 by Dial Press and charmingly illustrated by French artist Yoran Cazac. Baldwin dedicated the work to his nephew, Tejan Karefa-Smart, and niece, Aisha Karefa-Smart, who were then children. Duke University Press re-released the book in 2018 with an introduction by Nicholas Bogs and Jennifer DeVere Brody. Following the performance, Tejan and Aisha Karefa-Smart and others will discuss why Baldwin is one of one of America’s greatest writers. Books will be for sale and signing courtesy of Smithsonian Books. Registration is encouraged, though walk-ups are welcomed.
The Smithsonian Ingenuity Festival kicks off Nov. 29 and continues through Dec. 9. The festival hosts programs throughout several Smithsonian museums featuring honorees of the American Ingenuity Award. Deemed “the Golden Globes of Intellect,” the American Ingenuity Awards honor individuals across nine wide-ranging categories: Education, History, Life Sciences, Performing Arts, Physical Sciences, Social Progress, Technology, Visual Arts and Youth. Several highlights of the festival will occur in the Oprah Winfrey Theater of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Arthur Ashe: A Life—A Conversation Between Ray Arsenault and Bill Rhoden
Monday, Dec. 3; 3 p.m.
Ray Arsenault, author of the critically acclaimed biography Arthur Ashe: A Life and award-winning sports columnist William C. Rhoden will conduct an in-depth interview that contextualizes legendary tennis player and humanitarian Arthur Ashe. Ashe’s leadership on social justice issues cemented his legacy on and off the tennis court. Books will be available for sale and signing courtesy of Smithsonian Enterprises. Registration is encouraged, though walk-ups are welcomed.
Entrepreneurship and Resilience—A Conversation With Rose McElrath-Slade
Tuesday, Dec. 4; 2 p.m.
Rose McElrath-Slade, the founding president and CEO of Strategic Resources Inc., will discuss her pioneering career in the technology industry and her passion for helping others by creating economic opportunity. McElrath-Slade has been named one of 25 most influential minority women in business. Registration is encouraged, though walk-ups are welcome.
On Art and History: A Conversation with Tracy K. Smith
Wednesday, Dec. 5; 2 p.m.
The 2018 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award education honoree U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith will discuss the impact of history and race in her acclaimed collection of poetry, Wade in the Water. Registration is encouraged, though walk-ups are welcomed.
NMAAHC Live: A Conversation With Janelle Monae and Christian McBride
Thursday, Dec. 6; 2 p.m.
The 2018 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award performing arts honoree, renowned recording artist, actress and activist Janelle Monae will discuss the influences of rhythm and blues on her music as well as her social justice work with award-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride. Registration is encouraged, though walk-ups are welcomed.
About the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed nearly 4.5 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat—or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.
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