American Civil War Museum CEO Christy Coleman Profiled in ForbesHistorians in the News
tags: public history, CEO, Civl War
Whether it’s at the Oscars, the statehouse or on the floor of Congress, much of our country’s ongoing struggle with racial hatred and racial healing traces back to how we memorialize our history of slavery, the Civil War and the Confederacy. Few are having such a direct impact on this critical and messy conversation as Christy Coleman, the first woman and first African-American to lead the American Civil War Museum. In fact, Time magazine recently named her one of “31 people changing the South.”
From her office in Virginia, Christy talked to me about leading and change, as well as life lessons from being in the room and pushing uncomfortable conversations.
Follow your passion, even when it means breaking with convention.
“I was born breach, so my parents knew I was destined to do things my way,” jokes Christy, whose personal decisions and career pathway haven’t always aligned with conventional wisdom.
Growing up in Williamsburg, Virginia—a city known for tourism centered on Revolutionary War artifacts and actors reenacting scenes from colonial times—Christy’s passion for how history is memorialized started at a young age. Though it wasn’t her original plan, by her late 20s she realized that “the museum world was for me.”
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