Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Celebrating: The National Museum of African American History and Culture


On September 24, 2016, the first national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture will be opening. In honor of this momentous addition to the Smithsonian Institution, we wanted to highlight some of the inspiring African Americans featured throughout the years on American Masters.

Whether it’s through the words of Maya Angelou, James Baldwin and August Wilson, the music of B.B. King, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Jimi Hendrix, or the skill of Althea Gibson and Misty Copeland, the work of these pioneering greats continues to inspire. Celebrate with us, and enjoy the following films, now available for free streaming through Oct. 8:

American Ballet Theatre: A History
August Wilson: The Ground On Which I Stand
B.B. King: The Life of Riley
Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’ (Director’s Cut)
Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll

Established by Act of Congress in 2003, The National Museum of African American History and Culture celebrates the history, values, contributions and stories of African Americans throughout history. With more than 36,000 artifacts, the NMAAHC explores what it means to be an American and creates a space to explore African American culture. Visit the Smithsonian and celebrate the grand opening in person, or join 140,000 others by becoming a museum member.

Also, be sure to tune in this winter for the premiere of Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. This unprecedented film celebrates Dr. Maya Angelou by weaving her words with rare and intimate archival photographs and videos, which paint hidden moments of her exuberant life during some of America’s most defining moments.

Subscribe to the American Masters Newsletter


PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.