Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein

Jan 16 2015 - Apr 19 2015

This exhibit features the stunning and historic photographs of Stephen Somerstein, documenting the Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights March in January 1965. Somerstein was a student in City College of New York’s night school and Picture Editor of his student newspaper when he traveled to Alabama to document the March. 

Marchers on the way to Montgomery as families watch from their porches

He joined the marchers and gained unfettered access to everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Rosa Parks, James Baldwin, and Bayard Rustin. “I had five cameras slung around my neck,” he recalled. Over the five-day, 54-mile march, Somerstein took about four hundred photographs including poignant images of hopeful blacks lining the rural roads as they cheered on the marchers walking past their front porches and whites crowded on city sidewalks, some looking on silently-others jeering as the activists walked to the Alabama capital.

Stormy Weather (1943)

Stanley Crouch
Bob Herbert
Fri, June 6th, 2014 | 7:00 pm


This event is part of the New-York Historical Society's spring 2014 Free Fridays programs, sponsored by Bank of America. Entrance to the film series is free during the Museum's Pay-as-you-wish Friday Nights (6 – 8 pm). No advanced reservations. Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 6 pm. New-York Historical Society members receive priority.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Sherrilyn Ifill
Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Fri, January 10th, 2014 | 7:00 pm


Entrance to the film series is included with Museum Admission during New-York Historical’s Pay-as-you-wish Friday Nights (6 – 8 pm). No advanced reservations. Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 6 pm. New-York Historical Society members receive priority.

Harlem with Barry Lewis

Barry Lewis
Sun, March 9th, 2014 | 5:00 pm

Note: This event is sold out



With its rich history in African-American politics, journalism, athletics, and culture, Harlem has evolved into one of the world's most celebrated neighborhoods. In anticipation of the exhibition The Black Fives, join Barry Lewis for a discussion on the neighborhood's enduring architecture, from its classic Victorian brownstones to its renowned ballrooms.

W.E.B. Du Bois and the Fight for Black Equality

David Levering Lewis
Khalil Gibran Muhammad (moderator)
Wed, February 19th, 2014 | 6:30 pm


An accomplished scholar and outspoken activist, W.E.B. Du Bois fought racism and discrimination from local institutions to the highest levels of government.

The Supreme Court and Affirmative Action

Randall Kennedy
Thu, October 3rd, 2013 | 6:30 pm


What are the costs of affirmative action on higher education and American society? Is this approach to diversification and advancement obsolete? Following the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding Fisher v. University of Texas, Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy offers a deeply personal exploration of the complex history of this contentious issue and argues why it still plays an obligatory role in modern America.

David Grover Sings Songs of Freedom

David Grover
Sun, January 19th, 2014 | 12:30 pm

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, folk singer and children’s musician David Grover will entertain participants young and old in this concert celebrating diversity, freedom, and the Civil Rights movement. Please RSVP to Ages 4 and up

African American Leaders Scavenger Hunt

Sat, January 18th, 2014 | 10:00 am - Mon, January 20th, 2014 | 5:00 pm

January 18 – 20; Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Meet the inspiring and brave African American leaders who helped shape our nation and civil rights legislation. Families will search through New-York Historical's collections finding objects and documents related to James McCune Smith, Pierre Toussaint, Frederick Douglass and of course, Martin Luther King Jr. Ages 6 and up

The Black Fives

Mar 14 2014 - Jul 20 2014

This exhibition covers the pioneering history of the African-American basketball teams that existed in New York City and elsewhere from the early 1900s through 1950, the year the National Basketball Association became racially integrated. Just after the game of basketball was invented in 1891, teams were often called “fives” in reference to their five starting players. Teams made up entirely of African-American players were referred to as “colored fives,” “Negro fives,” or black fives—the period became known as the Black Fives Era. 

Charles “Tarzan” Cooper (1907-1980) was a star center with the Philadelphia Panthers, New York Rens, Grumman Hellcats, and Washington Bears, winning two World Pro Basketball Tournament championships – with the Rens (1939) and the Bears (1943). The Rens won 1,303 out of 1,505 games with Cooper, who is considered one of the greatest centers of his time and was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977. Photograph courtesy the Black Fives Foundation.

Dozens of all-black teams emerged during the Black Fives Era, in New York City, Washington, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlantic City, Cleveland, and other cities where a substantial African-American population lived. The Black Fives Era came to an end in the late 1940s with the growth in stature of black college basketball programs combined with the gradual racial integration of previously whites-only collegiate basketball conferences and professional basketball leagues.

Reading Into History Book Wrap Event: Home Is With Our Family

Joyce Hansen
Wed, June 19th, 2013 | 3:30 pm

Wednesday, June 19, 3:30 pm
Free with Museum admission. Ages 9-12.

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Creative: Tronvig Group