When I began familiarizing myself with some of what the National Museum of African American History and Culture has to offer, I explored several categories within the collection, but I was drawn to the topic of Civil Rights almost immediately. I chose this object, the “Banner with motto of Oklahoma Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs,” (ca. 1924) as one that I would love to learn more about. There is at least one other banner like this one on display at the museum, but the thing that struck my interest was the motto “Lifting As We Climb.” As an undergraduate majoring in history, I had many lessons on the American Civil Rights movements, but I am unfamiliar with the role that this specific association played in the fight for equality.
I am particularly interested in learning more about the history of women’s roles during this time period. I have done research in the past on various topics relating to feminism, and I hope that in learning more about this object, I will be able to better understand how different regional African American women’s groups affected changed in the nation. I find it interesting that the sentiment being expressed in this banner, although it is from the 1920s, seems to be incredibly relevant today, as well. I am looking forward to learning the story behind this group’s banner and its motto. I also hope to learn about the women that it represented, specifically how their stories fit into the larger American history narrative. The banner is object number 2010.2.1abc and it is on view in the exhibition entitled Making a Way Out of No Way, which looks at how change comes about, located on the third floor of the museum.
NMAAHC. (n.d.). Banner with motto of Oklahoma Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs [Digital image]. Retrieved February 28, 2017, from https://nmaahc.si.edu/