National Museum of African American History and Culture Selected Student Films to be Showcased

June 8, 2023, College Park, Maryland—National History Day® (NHD) and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMMAHC) are pleased to announce the world premiere of 17 documentary films selected to be featured in a live showcase at the Oprah Winfrey Theater at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The films were produced by middle and high school students competing in the 2023 NHD National Contest and were screened and selected by NMAAHC staff. This year’s showcase will take place on Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

The NMAAHC has been working with National History Day to produce the Student Documentary since its opening in 2016. From 2016 to 2019, the NMAAHC featured the documentaries in-person in their Oprah Winfrey Theater to the visiting public. The COVID-19 shutdowns presented a unique challenge to continue the showcase. The NMAAHC and National History Day switched to an online format to host the showcase, utilizing the Smithsonian Learning Lab platform, run by the Smithsonian’s Office of Educational Technology. This year, we are back in person, hosting the documentaries in the Oprah Winfrey Theater.

NHD students whose films were selected for the showcase grappled with topics consistent with the mission of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Their documentaries address topics of African or African American history. These ten-minute films also reflect the 2023 NHD theme, Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas.

“We are thrilled to have our students return to Washington, D.C. to compete in the 2023 NHD National Contest,” shares Executive Director Cathy Gorn. “We are excited for the opportunity to share the work of these young documentary filmmakers at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to showcase the stellar work of these history students.”

The following films have been selected for the showcase:

Title: Loving V. Virginia: Frontiers in Civil Rights and Social Justice
Student(s): Ashea Angel, Maya Huang, Aubrey Denise Ventura
Teacher(s): Jaimy Valerio
School: King David Kalakaua Middle School (Honolulu, Hawaiʻi)
Showtimes: 10:15 a.m., 2:20 p.m.
Title: The 54th Massachusetts: Pride Over Prejudice and a New Frontier of Freedom
Student(s): Julia Kilvady
Teacher(s): Ross Farmer
School: Belle Vernon Area Middle School (Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania)
Showtimes: 10:27 a.m., 2:31 p.m.
Title: The Langston Blues
Student(s): Camryn Carr
Teacher(s): Amanda Hall
School: Forestbrook Middle School (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)
Showtimes: 10:39 a.m., 2:42 p.m.
Title: A Frontier in Litigation: Charles Houston, Thurgood Marshall, Nathan Margold, and the Fight to End Segregation in Education
Student(s): Keavan Coale, Ian Morgan
Teacher(s): Joel Slingerland
School: Central High School (Springfield, Missouri)
Showtimes: 10:51 a.m., 2:53 p.m.
Title: John Coltrane: A Pioneer who Crossed Frontiers in Music
Student(s): Mossi Tull, Jr.
Teacher(s): Alexander Frail, BJ Simmons
School: Stuart Hobson Middle School Capitol Hill Cluster (Washington, D.C.)
Showtimes: 11:03 a.m., 3:04 p.m.
Title: Kansas City Jazz: A Frontier for Black Success
Student(s): Mia Rasmussen
Teacher(s): Sonja Czarnecki
School: Bishop Seabury Academy (Lawrence, Kansas)
Showtimes: 11:15 a.m., 3:15 p.m.
Title: A Swann’s Legacy
Student(s): Oli Roy, Lucy Stadtmauer
Teacher(s): Drew Gordon
School: South Burlington High School (South Burlington, Vermont)
Showtimes: 11:27 a.m., 3:26 p.m.
Title: The Port Royal Experiment: Crossing the Frontier from Slave to Freedman
Student(s): Joshua Baird, Thomas Cripe, Anthony Herndon
Teacher(s): Laura Cripe
School: Academic Pathways Homeschool Co-op (Fort Mill, South Carolina)
Showtimes: 11:39 a.m., 3:37 p.m.
Title: How Did Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company Help The Future of Mobile, Alabama
Student(s): Ddwayne Lockett-James
Teacher(s): Sarah Woltring
School: Murphy High School (Mobile, Alabama)
Showtimes: 11:51 a.m., 3:48 p.m.
Title: Ruby Bridges: How One Six-Year-Old Became a Frontier in History
Student(s): Sara Newitt
Teacher(s): Holly Matzen
School: Memorial Middle School (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
Showtimes: 12:03 p.m., 4:00 p.m.
Title: Unbought & Unbossed: Shirley Chisholm, Crossing the Political Frontier
Student(s): Molly Budhiraja
Teacher(s): Andrew Estes
School: BASIS Peoria (Peoria, Arizona)
Showtimes: 12:15 p.m., 4:11 p.m.
Title: Masterminds Behind the Movement: How Tougaloo College Advanced Civil Rights in Mississippi
Student(s): Kiersten Burk, Jermarius Everett, Grace Short
Teacher(s): Alexandria Drake
School: JPS-Tougaloo Early College High School (Jackson, Mississippi)
Showtimes: 12:27 p.m., 4:22 p.m.
Title: Little Rock: A Frontier of the Global Cold War
Student(s): Lawson Wright
Teacher(s): Melissa Morales
School: Horace Mann School (Bronx, New York)
Showtimes: 12:39 p.m., 4:33 p.m.
Title: Idlewild: Black Eden The Town That Segregation Built
Student(s): Temple Lester
Teacher(s): Sally Stanhope
School: Chamblee Charter High School (Chamblee, Georgia)
Showtimes: 12:51 p.m., 4:44 p.m.
Title: The Height of the Fight: Bill Russell as a Trailblazer for Activism in the NBA
Student(s): Samuel Luther, Wyatt Roth, Malachai Shulman, Keyshawn Ragin
Teacher(s): Joseph Konopinski
School: Shaker Heights High School (Shaker Heights, Ohio)
Showtimes: 1:03 p.m., 4:55 p.m.
Title: Ella Baker: A Pioneer of Grassroots Movements 
Student(s): Sunmit Hallur, Michael Makhoul, Esteban Pierrend
Teacher(s): Andrew Estes
School: BASIS Peoria (Peoria, Arizona)
Showtimes: 1:15 p.m., 5:06 p.m.
Title: The Frontier of Richmond: Battleground for Segregation
Student(s): Michael Trownsell
Teacher(s): Danny Wise
School: The New Community School (Richmond, Virginia)
Showtimes: 1:27 p.m., 5:17 p.m.

About National History Day® (NHD)

NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, that seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, The Better Angels Society, and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. For more information, visit

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed more than 9 million in-person visitors and millions more through its digital presence. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.


June 6, 2023 • ,

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