College Park, Maryland – October 4, 2023 – National History Day® (NHD) is proud to announce that the 400 Years of African American History Commission (YAAHC) has selected NHD student documentaries to feature in a docuseries. The five-part docuseries premiered on Monday, October 2, on the Commission’s website and the Smogo TV streaming channel. The documentaries, using the theme Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas, were created by students from around the globe who participated in National History Day’s 2023 National Contest. Winners of the Contest were announced in June.

Watch the series at:

Students who participated in the competition spent months researching primary and secondary sources while analyzing the historical significance of their topics and sharing their ideas via various creative formats and platforms. The docuseries includes the following examples of NHD student work:

Part One:

The 54th Massachusetts: Pride Over Prejudice and a New Frontier of Freedom, Julia Kilvady (Pennsylvania)

The Frontier of Richmond: Battleground for Segregation, Michael Trownsell (Virginia)

The Port Royal Experiment: Crossing the Frontier From Slave to Freedman, Joshua Baird, Thomas Cripe, and Anthony Herndon (South Carolina)

How Did Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company Help Shape the Future of Mobile, Alabama, Ddwayne Lockett-James (Alabama)

Part Two:

The Langston Blues, Camryn Carr (South Carolina)

Kansas City Jazz: A Frontier for Black Success, Mia Rasmussen (Kansas)

Idlewild: Black Eden The Town That Segregation Built, Temple Lester (Georgia)

Part Three:

Unbought & Unbossed: Shirley Chisolm, Crossing the Political Frontier, Molly Budhiraja (Arizona)

Ella Baker: A Pioneer of Grassroots Movements, Sunmit Hallur, Michael Makhoul, and Esteban Pierrend (Arizona)

Althea Gibson: The Big Swing to Cross Colour Frontiers in Tennis, Aditi Chakravarti (NHD International)

Part Four:

Masterminds Behind the Movement: How Tougaloo College Advanced Civil Rights in Mississippi, Kiersten Burk, Jermarius Everett, and Grace Short (Mississippi)

A Frontier in Litigation: Charles Houston, Thurgood Marshall, Nathan Margold and the Fight to End Segregation in Education, Keavan Coale and Ian Morgan (Missouri)

Ruby Bridges: How One Six-Year-Old Became a Frontier in History, Sara Newitt (South Dakota)

Little Rock: A Frontier of the Cold War, Lawson Wright (New York)

Part Five:

Wade in the Water: How African Americans Got Back Into the Pool, S. Abigail Giroux (Maryland)

Loving v. Virginia: Frontiers in Civil Rights and Social Justice, Ashea Angel, Maya Huang, and Aubrey Denise Ventura (Hawaiʻi)

The Height of the Fight: Bill Russell as a Trailblazer for Activism in the NBA, Samuel Luther, Wyatt Roth, Malachai Shulman, Keyshawn Ragin (Ohio)

“The National History Day Docuseries presented by the 400 Years of African American History Commission showcases student-produced documentaries,” said 400 YAAHC Commissioner and author Hannibal Johnson, Esq. “Evident in this body of work is student research, analysis, and synthesis — the brilliance of young minds guided, but not directed to new discoveries.”

“National History Day is proud to partner with the 400 Years of African American History Commission to showcase some of our most outstanding student documentaries of 2023,” said Cathy Gorn, Executive Director of National History Day. “We are especially proud of our students who have shown not only an interest in African American History but also who have researched many such stories not found in textbooks or classroom curricula and have had the courage to tell them.”

“We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds our future. Our youth,” said Johnson. “If the National History Day Docuseries presented by the 400 Years of African American History Commission is any indication, we are in good hands indeed.”

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 the 400 Years of African American History Commission, The Better Angels Society, the Bezos Family Foundation, HISTORY®, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Park Service. For more information, visit

About the 400 Years of African American History Commission (YAAHC)

The 400 YAAHC is a federally-appointed Commission established in 2018. The Commission was created to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the landing of the first kidnapped Africans in 1619 in the English colonies at Point Comfort, Virginia (today, Fort Monroe). Since the commemoration that took place in 2019, the 400 YAAHC has promoted the contributions African Americans have made to this country in the last 400+ years. To learn more about additional programs, visit


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