History Galleries and Special Exhibits

This is the museum’s lobby. From here you can choose which gallery to enter.

There are seven History Galleries. These tell the story of the Black Holocaust in chronological order from life in Africa before captivity to African American life today. Each history gallery has a home page where you can view all its current exhibits, find resources for further learning, and peek at planned exhibits.

Click on the Special Exhibits Gallery to visit our Memorial to the Victims of Lynching, the Freedom-Lovers' Roll Call Wall, an art exhibit, and featured temporary exhibits.

Explore the galleries in order – or start in one and jump to another. Stories within each gallery contain links, so you can follow interconnected stories from one exhibit to another. Or from one gallery to another.

The museum is constantly adding exhibits. Cyberspace is virtually infinite, so you will always find your favorite exhibits alongside the new ones.

Meharry Medical College, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in 1948. HBCUs have played an historical role in enhancing equal educational opportunity for all students.

More than 80% of all black Americans who received degrees in medicine and dentistry were trained at the two traditionally black institutions of medicine and dentistry: Howard University and Meharry Medical College. Today, these institutions still account for 19.7% of degrees awarded in medicine and dentistry to black students.
Meharry Medical College, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in 1948. HBCUs have played an historical role in enhancing equal educational opportunity for all students. More than 80% of all black Americans who received degrees in medicine and dentistry were trained at the two traditionally black institutions of medicine and dentistry: Howard University and Meharry Medical College. Today, these institutions still account for 19.7% of degrees awarded in medicine and dentistry to black students.

Select a Gallery

Many of us believe Africa was “uncivilized” before Europeans arrived there. Nothing could be further from the truth.The lives of Africans before slavery were much like the lives of the Europeans who captured them. 

Pre-captivity Africa and its great civilizations provided the world with crucial technologies, in mathematics, architecture, medicine, astronomy, agriculture, marine navigation, art – and more.

From the 1400s to the 1800s, the voyages known as the “Triangular Slave Trade” were part of a complex international system of commerce.

Many people involved in this commerce made fortunes by capturing, selling, buying, transporting, and forcing adults and children into hard labor as prisoners for life.

Learn how this so-called “peculiar institution” shaped our country's past – to understand how it continues to mold our economic, political, legal, and social systems today.

This gallery explores the brutal realities of enslavement. It also tells uplifting stories of resistance and redemption by the enslaved and their allies.

This gallery explores the complex story of the promises of full citizenship made to black Americans – and then broken – in the dozen years following Emancipation. It also reveals some of the ways African Americans developed new community institutions that contributed greatly to our country's development during this tragic period and beyond.

Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, white people – in both the South and the North – found ways to maintain their accustomed power over black people. They did this through a combination of laws, social customs, and mob violence. This oppressive system is known as “Jim Crow” or "the Nadir."

The struggle for justice and equality stretched across the entire 20th Century. We call the especially active years of the 1950s and 1960s “the Civil Rights Era.” African Americans developed creative ways to protest racial inequality and gain new legal rights.

After the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, many citizens – black and white – thought African Americans could now live the American Dream of liberty and justice for all

But, sadly, our country has not yet achieved its journey to justice. This gallery explores the roadblocks that persist and the efforts of many Americans to dismantle them.

  • A Memorial to the Victims of Lynching
  • The Freedom-Lovers' Roll Call Wall
  • Stories Behind the Postcards
  • Through One City's Eyes (coming soon)

12 Comments

  1. Lionel Pitts on October 8, 2020 at 10:18 PM

    Look at an 1747 map of west Africa where Ghana is today. You will find K’DM of Juda. We are bloodline Jews. We were in Spain and all over Europe before we were brought to Africa.

    • Jo-Ann on February 7, 2021 at 5:09 PM

      I can’t wait to visit this museum and think the name is on point!! And I loved the clearly written explanation for the name selection!! We as blacks suffered a holocaust and are still to this day, sadly!! I have gleaned a great deal from the various galleries information on your website and look forward to actually seeing the museum in person!!

  2. Anna on January 27, 2021 at 4:37 PM

    I’m struggling to understand how this relates to the Holocaust? Maybe I missed something. But seeing as it’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day and this project, while important, has nothing to do with the 6+ million people who were killed during the Holocaust, how is this even remotely relevant?

    • dr_fran on January 30, 2021 at 11:16 AM

      Anna, you can find the answer to your questions in our exhibit What is the Black Holocaust?

    • Seth on February 8, 2021 at 1:50 PM

      Hi Anna, The word holocaust is defined as a complete devastation or destruction; or a mass slaughter. The term holocaust is most often used when talking about the devastating mass murder of Jews before and during WWII. However, when we look at the history of the treatment of Black people across the globe, the term holocaust is warranted.

    • pri on April 30, 2021 at 8:38 AM

      This is not directly linked to the Jewish Holocaust that took place in 1940`s Germany, the word Holocaust is just used in relation due to its meaning. They literally explain it on the site “About ABHM” and in the exhibit “What is the Black Holocaust”

  3. Jerrica on February 25, 2021 at 4:50 PM

    Anna, please see Seth’s response.

  4. madeline l ryan on April 1, 2021 at 9:56 AM

    is the museum open for people to come in real life?

    • dr_fran on April 7, 2021 at 4:49 PM

      Yes, once the virus is over and it’s safe for people to be together, the physical museum will re-open at 401 W. North Avenue in Milwaukee, WI, USA.

    • dr_fran on May 10, 2021 at 4:16 PM

      It will be open as soon as it is safe for people to gather in a museum.

  5. Aileen on April 16, 2021 at 3:17 PM

    I look forward to the museum’s re-opening! It’s a beautiful space and one of our most important community assets. My gratitude and admiration to all who protected and nurtured Dr. Cameron’s vision and made it a reality again for us to learn from and share.

  6. Lilian Africel on April 19, 2021 at 12:28 PM

    Anna, really, where have you been? Are completely unaware of what has happened to black people Worldwide, for centuries?

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