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  • Collection: Great Plains Black History Museum

Organ player Michael Andre Lewis was born in Omaha in 1948 and grew up in a musical family. Lewis’s father played saxophone with Count Basie, served as bandleader to Fats Domino and Etta James, and also played locally with Preston Love’s…

North Omaha has been home to dozens of African American churches over the years, making religious institutions one of the most consistently vibrant aspects of the community. This undated photograph shows members of Mt. Calvary Church.

African American women have long participated in an array of clubs and other community-based organizations. Like male fraternities, black sororities provided their members with support, a social outlet and opportunities for community uplift. This…

This is a newspaper feature of Phyllis D. Wilson, a competitor in the Miss Black America Pageant. The Miss Black Nebraska competition was an annual event, first held in 1970 with the winner going on to participate in the Miss Black America pageant. …

Florence Pinkston-Mitchell was a prominent piano teacher in North Omaha for many years during the mid-twentieth century. Art and music lessons were an important part of a child’s education for most middle-class African Americans. Over the years,…

A group of African American men in North Omaha reporting for induction into the military during World War II. Despite a segregated U.S. military, nearly four million African American soldiers served their country during WWII.

Black baseball was popular throughout the Midwest during the mid-20th century, including Omaha. It provided a social outlet for community members, opportunities for skilled ballplayers, and entrepreneurial possibilities for team owners. Many black…

Black firefighters have a long history in Omaha, stretching back more than 100 years to the 1890s. Initially segregated, the Omaha Fire Department formally integrated its force in 1954, the same year as the historic Brown v. Board of Education…

North Omaha has been home to a number of black newspapers dating back to the 1890s. African American newspapers have historically provided an important alternative to mainstream newspapers, which rarely covered events in black communities, seldom…

In 1953, the DePorres Club mounted a successful campaign against Reed’s Ice Cream for discriminatory hiring practices. Here, members of the organization picket outside of Reed’s and talk to community members about their protest. Note the sign…
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