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.

New York 26th United States Colored Troops: Living History Days

Sat, April 5th, 2014 | 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

Free with Museum admission; all ages
Meet the men of New York’s own 26th United States Colored Troops (USCT) regiment and visit the new exhibition Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War. The USCT were regiments of the United States Army during the American Civil War and were composed of African American—“colored”—soldiers.

In the Path of the Harlem Renaissance, 1925–1950

Cal Snyder
Lucy Oakley
Sun, June 1st, 2014 | 11:00 am

Note: This program is sold out



Explore post-WWI Harlem and visit the haunts of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and painter Romare Bearden, conjuring the era of the Renaissance Ballroom, the Apollo Theater, and jazz icons such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald. Join us to explore the economic and social roots of the Harlem Renaissance and its aftermath.

Homefront & Battlefield Gallery Tour

Madelyn Shaw
Mon, April 21st, 2014 | 11:00 am


Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War tells the story of this conflict through textiles and artifacts, connecting deeply moving and personal stories with the broader national context. This is the second tour of the exhibition in a series of three.

Gallery tours are limited to 35 guests per tour. Please buy tickets in advance.

Robert A. Caro on the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Robert A. Caro
Mon, April 7th, 2014 | 6:30 pm

Note: This event is sold out



“It’s time to write it into the books of law.”
–President Lyndon B. Johnson

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson pushed through a southern-dominated congress a civil rights act that, a century after the Civil War, formally outlawed racial discrimination in America. Robert A. Caro examines Johnson’s legislative genius and the heroism of the civil rights workers in the South, who greatly contributed to this monumental achievement.

The Scorpion's Sting: Antislavery and the Coming of the Civil War

James Oakes
Edna Greene Medford
Thu, June 5th, 2014 | 6:30 pm

Please note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Harold Holzer is no longer able to participate in this program.



Many pre-Civil War antislavery proponents advocated for peaceful abolition: if slave states were surrounded by free states, mass numbers of slaves would be compelled to escape, the Southern economy would be undermined, and voluntary state abolition would be imminent.

Justice Thurgood Marshall

Randall Kennedy
Tue, March 11th, 2014 | 6:30 pm


As a powerful voice in the battle for Civil Rights and the first African American appointed to the nation's highest court, Justice Thurgood Marshall was among the scores of African Americans across the country who were conquering color barriers in government, sports, music, and culture. A former law clerk to Justice Marshall offers an in-depth look at this monumental figure and his enduring legacy.

Reading into History Family Book Club: We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March

Cynthia Levinson
Sun, February 2nd, 2014 | 3:00 pm

At a time when adults were fearful of heeding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s call to “fill the jails” of Birmingham, Alabama in protest of segregation and racial violence, the children of the city stepped in to do their part. Come to the wrap on February 2nd for a Skype discussion with author Cynthia Levinson, and celebrate young activists in the Civil Rights Movement and throughout history through our museum collections. Ages 9-12 and their adults.

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.

The White House Series: First Mothers

Cokie Roberts
Gil Troy
Elizabeth Mehren
Lesley Stahl (moderator)
Wed, February 26th, 2014 | 6:30 pm

Note: This event is sold out



Many remarkable mothers have given birth to American presidents, and as a result, helped shape the course of history through their relationships. Although America has yet to elect a female President, many women have played important parts in shaping presidential administrations and in changing the roles and the perceptions of women in politics. To celebrate the centennial of the Women’s Suffrage Parade of 1913, four experts discuss past First Mothers who have influenced a nation.

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