National Women’s History Museum Opens Inaugural In-person Exhibition at the MLK Library Focusing on DC Black Feminists and their Influence on National Policy

Entitled We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC, the exhibition highlights more than 20 Black women activists whose work in Washington, DC influenced national policy from the turn of the 20th century through the civil rights and Black Power movements.

“Our inaugural exhibit explores the stories and voices of Black feminist organizers and theorists whose work changed the trajectory for the lives of—work that continues today and is often overlooked in history books,” said Susan D. Whiting, Board Chair, NWHM. “The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library is a beautiful venue to exhibit this important cultural content and, as a public building, ensures that the exhibit is accessible to all.”

The exhibition, curated by historians Sherie M. Randolph and Kendra T. Field, focuses on the stories and voices of more than twenty Black feminist organizers and theorists—including Anna Julia Cooper, Mary Church Terrell, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Loretta Ross—whose work changed the trajectory of the lives of millions of Black women in DC community and across the country. Despite their significant contributions, many remain largely unknown to the public.

This is a major milestone for NWHM, the nation’s leading cultural institution for women’s history. It grew out of a unique partnership between NWHM and DC Public Library. NWHM plans to work in communities across the nation to uncover local women’s history and build sustainable and scalable programming and exhibitions housed in local libraries, cultural institutions, and community gathering spaces.

More information about the exhibition is available here. A companion website is available here.

On March 31, 2023 at its Women Making History Gala, NWHM will honor Uma Thurman, Ashley Graham, Sharon Stone, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Willie Pearl Mackey King for their extensive work in women’s activism and civil rights.

NWHM founding investors that made the exhibition possible: AARP Foundation, ArentFox Schiff, Jon S. and Kerrie Bouker, Chicago Pacific Founders, Mari Snyder Johnson, Kaiser Permanente, Morgan Stanley, Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts, Meryl Streep, Mary Tolan, Susan D. Whiting, and Women Connect4Good Foundation.