Much of our national memory of the civil rights movement is embodied by male figureheads whose visibility in boycotts, legal proceedings, and mass demonstrations dominated newspaper and television coverage in the 1950s and 1960s. While less prominent in the media, a group of extraordinary women also shaped much of the spirit and substance of civil rights in America, just as their mothers and grandmothers had done for decades.

Made possible by a grant from Ford Motor Company Fund, Freedom’s Sisters is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and Cincinnati Museum Center that brings to life 20 African American women. The women range from key 19th century historical figures to contemporary leaders who have fought for equality for people of color. This multimedia, interactive exhibition is designed to appeal of all ages and backgrounds, and is organized around the themes of Dare to Dream, Inspire Lives, Serve the Public, and Look to the Future.

Freedom’s Sisters also includes educational and community outreach components to facilitate engagement with local audiences.