Will White People Go to the National Black Museum?
The Anacostia Community Museum is one of the Smithsonian Institution's grand, federally chartered Washington, D.C., museums, but it is located miles from the Mall's gleaming white marble monuments where millions of eighth-grade history students pilgrimage each year.
It is a world-class museum charged with interpreting and preserving the black experience. But it is tucked away in a remote corner of Washington's poorest, blackest ward. Since it was established in 1967, the museum's surrounding Ward 8 community has served as a glaring metaphor for the black experience: segregated, under-resourced and disrespected. A few weeks ago my husband got lost while driving to meet me there. He rolled down his car window, and flagged pedestrian after pedestrian. "Where's the Anacostia Museum?"
Person after person he stopped replied with blank stares.
In a rant on Capitol Hill earlier this month, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) railed against these kinds of federally supported ethnic museums -- calling them un-American. According to U.S. News and World Report, Moran went off about the burdens of funding them during a Capitol Hill Appropriations hearing....
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