NHD Student Filmmakers Named for Smithsonian Documentary Showcase

(As shared by the National History Day organization)

National Museum of African American History and Culture Selected Student Films to be Showcased by Smithsonian Learning Lab

WASHINGTON, DC—National History Day® (NHD), the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), and the Smithsonian Learning Lab announced today 35 documentary films, produced by middle and high school students competing in the 2020 NHD National Contest, to be featured in an online showcase. The films were screened and selected by NMAAHC staff, and will premier Wednesday, June 17, as a special collection of the Smithsonian Learning Lab.

To be selected for the showcase, students needed to address topics and stories in their documentaries consistent with the mission of the NMAAHC. The ten-minute films also reflect the 2020 NHD theme, Breaking Barriers in History. Johnston Middle School students Anjali Kumar and Eshaan Chandani have been selected for this showcase with their documentary, “One Woman’s Vision: Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s Race for Equality.” The showcase can be viewed here and is live through Wednesday, June 24.

The documentary showcase was originally planned to be screened in the Oprah Winfrey Theater of the NMAAHC, but will now take place online because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is an incredible honor for these students and their Breaking Barriers in History films to have been selected by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, a barrier-breaking institution in its own right,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Months and years from now, they will think back fondly on this week when their documentaries were viewed and experienced by people around the world visiting the Smithsonian Learning Lab and the documentary showcase.”

The 35 student films will be available to stream online for one week via the Smithsonian Learning Lab at s.si.edu/NHDShowcase2020, from tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17 through next Wednesday, June 24.

The following films and students have been selected for the showcase:

Documentary Title Student(s) School City, State
Breaking Barriers in Journalism: Dorothy Butler Gilliam


Noah Littleton, MacKenzie William


Hampton Cove Middle School


Cross Roads, Alabama
Hattie McDaniel: Breaking Barriers for Future African Americans in Hollywood


Bethany Frazier, Graysen Gowing, Maura Wead


Ozark High School Ozark, Arkansas
Wilma Rudolph: A Story of Perseverance; From Polio to Practice to Perfection Isabelle Clements


Russellville Junior High School


Russellville, Arkansas
The Deafening Sound of Barriers Being Broken: The American School for the Deaf Leah Glaspey, Nandini Shah Irving A. Robbins Middle School Farmington, Connecticut
On the Highest of Seven Hills Khalil Sommerville Eastern High School Washington, D.C.
The Actress Who Died a Thousand Deaths: Anna May Wong and Racism in Hollywood Kylie Leung, Shareen Qazi Cab Calloway School of the Arts


Wilmington, Delaware
Shirley Chisholm: The Good Fight Temple Lester Midtown International School Druid Hills, Georgia
Hoʻi ka ʻŌlelo: The Revitalization of Hawaiian Language in the Education System Li’ua Tengan


Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus


Honolulu, Hawaii
One Woman’s Vision: Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s Race for Equality Eshaan Chandani, Anjali Kumar Johnston Middle School Johnston, Iowa
Soul Train, Soul Change Avery Kelley Keller Regional Gifted Center Chicago, Illinois
How Jazz Broke Racial and Cultural Barriers


Lola Fratto


Lincoln Park High School Chicago, Illinois
Breaking Barriers at Bat: The Indianapolis Clowns Julius Jodway, Timothy Kaye, Payton Krueger, Aldan Zolman John J. Young Middle School


Mishawaka, Indiana
“Either You Print It Just the Way I Draw It or I Quit” Adyson Cashman, Allie Jones Seaman Middle School Topeka, Kansas
Alvin Ailey: Breaking Barriers in American Dance Liliana Christensen, Zora Lotton-Barker Lawrence High School Lawrence, Kansas
Breaking the Barrier of Truth around King Leopold II’s Congo Free State through the Use of Mass Media Shana Wolckenhaar Bedford High School Bedford, Massachusetts
Breaking the Invisible Barrier: The National Mental Health Act of 1946 Bobby Diaz, Rohin Garg, Thomas Huang, Allen Tang, Andrew Wang


Winston Churchill High School Potomac, Maryland
Keith Haring: Breaking Barriers during the AIDS Crisis Matt Koff Bullis School Potomac, Maryland
Breaking into the Billboard Hot 100: How Motown Got Everybody “Dancing in the Street” Laura Thielman


Whitehall Middle School Whitehall, Michigan
Penumbra Theatre: Presenting African American Narratives through Performance Iris Carroll Open World Learning Community St. Paul, Minnesota
Freedom Found on a Bootheel Roadside: The 1939 Sharecroppers Strike Chelsea Swasho, Rylee Taylor Richland High School Richland, Missouri
Gaines v. Canada: The NAACP’s Legal Strategy to End Segregation in Education Ian Morgan


Central High School Springfield, Missouri
Kathleen McIlwain


Folsom Berry, Ruby Murray Pascagoula High School Pascagoula, Mississippi
Kill Us or Desegregate Us: Diane Nash and Her Life through Breaking Barriers Rechelle Gutierrez Silver High School Silver City, New Mexico
Yaa Asantewaa the War of the Golden Stool A’Kaeila Coulter Leadership Academy of Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada
Breaking the Curfew: The Story of Minoru Yasui Kyler Wang, Alan Zhou Lincoln High School


Portland, Oregon
Operation Firefly: The Barrier Breaking Battalion Rylee Mann, Karalin Reynolds Helix School Helix, Oregon
Diverse City: Residential Integration in Philadelphia’s West Mount Airy Lily Cohen, Margaux Engel, Isabella Greene, Emmett Gordon Central High School Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Dr. Bennet Omalu’s Research on Brain Injuries: A Scientific Touchdown That Caught the NFL Offside Nishka Malik Singapore American School Singapore
To Hell and Back Adam Kinder Impact Early College High School Baytown, Texas
Mendez v. Westminster: Breaking Barriers Natalia Lopez


Green Canyon High School North Logan, Utah
Dr. Patricia Bath: Breaking Racial, Gender, Medical, and Economic Barriers Alexandria Pereira The Delta High School Richland, Washington
Hazel Scott: The Unsung Champion of Civil Rights Ellie Leverett


University School of Milwaukee Milwaukee, Wisconsin
To Be Young, Gifted, and Black: Nina Simone and the Civil Rights Movement Eliot Algrem, Kendall Hoida


Green Bay Southwest High School Green Bay, Wisconsin
Breaking Barriers in Black History: Carter G. Woodson and the Pursuit of Truth Lucas Mooney Homeschool Charles Town, West Virginia
The Science of Determination: Dr. Percy Lavon Julian, the Hidden Chemist Matthew Gray, Josey Johnson, Brett Pettibone, Annika Wilmot Lander Middle School Lander, Wyoming

About National History Day® (NHD)

NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, which 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, Southwest Airlines, The Better Angels Society, Jacqueline B. Mars, and BBVA. For more information, visit nhd.org.

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 7 million visitors. 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 nmaahc.si.edu, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

About Smithsonian Learning Lab

The Smithsonian Learning Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s museums, research centers, libraries, archives and more. The site allows teachers and students to create and adapt personalized interactive instructional materials with online tools and share in the Smithsonian’s expansive community of knowledge and learning. Prepackaged collections contain lessons, activities and recommended resources made by Smithsonian museum educators and thousands of classroom teachers across the country. For more information about the Smithsonian Learning Lab, visit learninglab.si.edu, follow @SmithsonianLab on Twitter, or email learninglab@si.edu.