People

Abernathy was a civil rights activist and close advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King. Abernathy helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. After King's assassination, Abernathy led the 1968 Poor People's Campaign in…

Archie Alexander was an African American engineer from Iowa and the senior partner in the firm Alexander and Repass. In the 1940s, the firm was hired to build a bridge and seawall at the Tidal Basin. Alexander spearheaded the project and brought in…

Marian Anderson was a beloved African American singer, who became famous for fighting racial inequality when she gave a concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In April 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow Anderson to…

Spencer Baird served as the first curator of the Smithsonian Institution and became the second Secretary of the Smithsonian. He worked at the Institution from 1850 until his death in 1887. Baird expanded and strengthened the Smithsonian's…

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Banneker was a free African American surveyor, mathematician, and almanac author from Maryland. In 1791, he assisted Andrew Ellicott with a survey of the boundaries of the District of Columbia. Among his duties on the survey, Banneker operated the…

Alice Pike Barney successfully lobbied Congress to create a federally-funded outdoor theater on the National Mall near the Washington Monument. Barney, a painter, wanted to encourage enjoyment of the arts in Washington, DC. She provided the funding…

Solomon Brown was likely the first African American employee at the Smithsonian Institution. He began work there in 1852 as a maintenance worker, building exhibit cabinets, cleaning, and moving specimens. He advanced to serve as clerk to Secretary…

Carl Browne helped Jacob S. Coxey lead the first march on Washington. In the spring of 1894, Coxey and Browne set out from Massillon, Ohio, and marched to Washington, DC, with a few hundred unemployed people. Together they advocated for a public jobs…

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. He develops exhibits and public programs and coordinates the museum's mission. Under his leadership, the Museum opened an exhibit in the…

Architect Daniel Burnham was the Chairman of the Senate Park Commission, which created a comprehensive redesign of the National Mall and DC parks system in the early 1900s. At that time, he was also working for the Pennsylvania Railroad to design a…