Smithsonian historian visits Birmingham in search of idea for National Museum of African American History and Culture

Historians in the News

Stories and memorabilia from Birmingham's civil rights past and the earliest middle-class black communities may one day find a home in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Director Lonnie G. Bunch was in Birmingham on Thursday seeking ideas for the museum, which is scheduled to open in 2015 on the National Mall in Washington. Birmingham is one of several cities Bunch is visiting to help form the vision of the museum.

"None of us have a monopoly on wisdom," Bunch said in an interview. "I want people to help us think about what issues we want to explore."

Bunch, whose wife, Maria Marable Bunch, grew up in Birmingham, said that while he is interested in Alabama's civil rights-era history, he also wants to explore the role of black people in Birmingham's industrial history and the roots of the city's black middle class.

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