Peace, love and soul made its way into the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture exhibit over this summer. Dubbed the “hippest trip in America,” Soul Train was known not only for its signature dance line and latest dance steps from the African-American community, but it also provided a platform for urban artists to be heard.
“This is one of those television shows that beamed African American culture to households of black and white America, where generations of kids learned the latest and coolest dances,” said Lonnie G. Bunch, founding director of the museum. “We are grateful to Soul Train for donating an important piece of American history and pop culture to our museum.”
After thirty-five years of programming, Soul Train donated some of its most well-known artifacts including: “Applause” signs, the 10-foot-wide neon “Soul Train” sign, the neon “Soul Train Awards” sign, a Soul Train Music Awards sign, and the popular Scramble Board.
The popular 1970s-era show is on record as the longest-running first-run, national syndicated program in television history. The collection will help the museum tell the story of the show’s impact on popular culture.