Nat "King" Cole
Entertainer Nat "King" Cole records at Capitol Recording Studios in circa 1963 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture presents a busy March programming calendar with events exploring how historic and current women have shaped American history and culture.

In addition to an array of events commending the achievements of women, March programming highlights include, a panel discussion and musical performance to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nat “King” Cole (born March 17, 1919) and the display of a previously unknown photo of Harriet Tubman coinciding with the museum’s first photography symposium, “Pictures with Purpose: A Symposium on Early African American Photography.”

The Webby Award-winning #HiddenHerstory social media campaign also returns for Women’s History Month with a celebration of the #HiddenHerstory series continuing throughout March.
Upcoming events include:

Saturday, March 16; 7 p.m.
NMAAHC Live: Honoring the Centennial of Nat King Cole
For the month’s featured public program, Dwandalyn R. Reece, the museum’s curator of music and the performing arts, will moderate a panel of vocalists, scholars and critics to explore the legacy of Nat “King” Cole, including his artistic, social justice and entrepreneurial impact. The museum’s program kicks off a host of special events, projects and programs commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Cole and occurs one day before his birthday. Along with his trailblazing musical career, Cole is recognized for his contributions to the struggle for civil rights and racial equality.

Wednesday, March 20; 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
District Treasures
District Treasures provides registered guests the opportunity to attend one-on-one sessions with preservation specialists and receive a professional review of family treasures. Attendees will gain insight on the historical significance of their items and learn best practices for preservation. The March 20 session will focus on photos, paper, books, objects and textiles. The program serves as an audience engagement and educational enrichment opportunity for all. Registration is encouraged at

Monday, March 24; 3 to 5 p.m.
Through the African American Lens: Clementine Hunter
The museum will screen “Clementine Hunter’s World,” a short documentary on the life and work of self-taught Louisiana artist, Clementine Hunter (1887–1988). Written and directed by Art Shiver, the film explores the importance of Hunter’s artistic production and the history of Melrose Plantation, where she lived and worked throughout the duration of life. Panelists include Tom Whitehead, Hunter biographer; Molly Baker, former Melrose Plantation site director; and Henry Price, Caddo Parish School Board supervisor of art. Tuliza Fleming, the museum’s curator of American Art, will moderate the discussion.

Monday, March 25–Sunday, March 31
Previously Unknown Photo of Harriet Tubman on Display for First Time inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture
A previously unknown portrait of abolitionist and Underground Railroad-conductor Harriet Tubman will go on display in Heritage Hall Monday, March 25, and will be on view through Sunday, March 31. Afterwards, the photograph will be relocated to the exhibition “Slavery and Freedom” on the C3 Level of the museum. Two years, ago, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Library of Congress jointly acquired the photograph as part of a photo album of Emily Howland (1827–1929), a Quaker school teacher who taught at Camp Todd, the Freedman’s School in Arlington, Virginia. Visitors may walk up for entry without a pass Monday through Friday beginning at 1 p.m. to view the photograph and visit the museum.

Friday, March 29; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pictures with a Purpose: A Symposium on Early African American Photography
For the museum’s first photography symposium, photography historians and visual culture scholars will explore and discuss the significance of early works by and about African American image-makers. This program coincides with the publication of the seventh volume in the “Double Exposure” photography book series, “Pictures with a Purpose.” The daylong symposium is supported by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation and hosted by the museum’s Earl and Amanda Stafford Center of African American Media Arts (CAAMA). Though the event is free and open to the public, registration is required.

Saturday, March 30, 7 p.m.
Cinema + Conversation: Amazing Grace–A Screening and Discussion
The Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) in collaboration with the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life (CSAARL) and NPR Music present the Washington, D.C., premiere of Amazing Grace, a documentary of the live recording of Aretha Franklin’s album Amazing Grace at The New Bethel Baptist Church

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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