Among the more than 3,000 artifacts on display at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture are an assortment of items and
videos that have a Philly-specific bend.
- A portrait and remembrance of Hercules, the well-regarded slave-chef of George Washington, brought to Philadelphia from Washington’s Virginia plantation to toil in the kitchen of the President’s House.
- A statue of Benjamin Banneker, the freeborn mathematician and astronomer who exchanged letters withThomas Jefferson challenging his positions on racial equality.
- The piano used by master songsmith Thom Bell to help craft the distinctively soulful musical footprint known as the legendary “Sound of Philadelphia.”
- A display on black media that includes the Philadelphia Tribune.
- A display on Mae Reeves’ popular West Philly boutique Mae’s Millinery Shop, in which dozens of her elegant hat designs, which were enjoyed by the likes of Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald and Lee Annenberg, are featured.
- Film footage of Chester-born singer-actress Ethel Waters, who, in 1962, became the first black woman nominated for an Emmy Award.
- A money box used by AME Church founder Bishop Richard Allen.
- A copy of poet Sonia Sanchez’s seminal 1970 “We a BaddDDD People.”
- Harriet Tubman’s handmade knife and fork, a silk shawl and a hymnal— all donated by historian Charles L.B lockson, the noted curator emeritus of the Blockson Afro American Collection at Temple University.
-A video clip on race features author and producer Dr. Yaba Blay, 41, formerly of Philadelphia, with President Obama, educator Tim Wise, activist Deray Mckesson and writer Ta-Nahesi Coates.