WASHINGTON —On May 16, the Newseum will open “One Nation With News for All,” a new exhibit that tells the dramatic story of how immigrants and minorities used the power of the press to fight for their rights and shape the American experience. “News for All” was created in partnership with the Smithsonian’s Our American Journey project.
The exhibit features 60 artifacts, including press passes used by Univision co-anchors María Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos while covering international news events, and a stepstool used by Pullman porters, black railroad car attendants who distributed the influential Chicago Defender in the South, where Northern papers were often confiscated and banned by whites. Also on display in “News for All” are a composing stick and lead type used by Benjamin Franklin to publish his newspapers, Memphis Free Speech publisher Ida B. Wells’s diary and Frederick Douglass’s pocket watch, engraved “F.
Douglass” on the back.
Visitors also will see some of the country’s first ethnic newspapers, including Freedom’s Journal, the first black newspaper, launched in 1827 to fight for equal rights and demand an end to slavery; and the Cherokee Phoenix, the first Native American newspaper, which was founded in 1828 to champion the rights of Indians and now publishes monthly in print and online. These and other newspapers helped millions of immigrants become part of America while keeping them informed about their homelands.
The exhibit also explores the growing influence of America’s leading ethnic broadcasters and newspapers as their reach expands across the country. Today, one in four Americans turns to ethnic media for news. Ethnic television, radio and online news outlets — from ImpreMedia, the largest Spanish-language news company in the United States, to the black-owned Radio One network to the “Angry Asian Man” blog — offer different perspectives on issues that affect their communities and the world, contributing powerful voices that reflect an increasingly diverse nation.
“We’re honored to partner with the Smithsonian Institution in telling the important story of ethnic media throughout American history,” said Jim Duff, CEO of the Newseum. “By exercising their First Amendment rights, ethnic media not only inform and educate the public, but also are drivers of social change, fighting for equal rights and leading crusades against slavery, poverty and injustice.”
“This is an exciting new partnership between the Newseum and the Smithsonian’s Our American Journey program, an immigration and migration initiative,” said Michelle Delaney, senior program officer at the Smithsonian. “Objects and stories in the exhibition confirm ethnic media are time capsules of history and tell the story of the nation we make together.”
Newseum-produced videos in the exhibit will feature newsmakers reading the words of pioneering ethnic journalists and explore the role today’s ethnic media play in covering major news events.
Interactive elements of the exhibit will encourage visitors to explore ethnic media throughout the country, and to pose for “selfies” in front of a portrait wall, allowing them to share their photos and contribute to an online gallery.
“News for All” will be on display at the Newseum through Jan. 4, 2015.
Admission to the Newseum is $22.95 plus tax for adults, $13.95 for youth ages 7 to 18 and $18.95 for seniors age 65 and older.
Newseum is located at 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001; 888/NEWSEUM (888/639-7386).