A Noose at the Smithsonian Brings History Back to Life

Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, explains how the noose found in the museum answers the question founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture “Why can’t African-Americans get over past discrimination?

The answer is that discrimination is not confined to the past. Nor is the African-American commitment to American ideals in the face of discrimination and hate.

The exhibitions inside the museum combine to form a narrative of a people who refused to be broken by hatred and who have always found ways to prod America to be truer to the ideals of its founders.

In the process of curating these experiences, I have acquired, examined and interpreted objects that stir feelings of intense pain. Anger and sadness are always parts of this work, but I never let them dominate it. Instead, I use them to help me connect with the people who have suffered and continue to suffer immeasurable pain and injustice, while clinging to their humanity and their vision of a better country.”

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