Secretary Lonnie Bunch: It Is Time for America to Confront Its Tortured Racial Past

tags: Smithsonian, racism, African American history, Protest

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the Smithsonian's 14th Secretary and the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He is the author of more than a dozen books on history, race and museum scholarship.


Although it will be a monumental task, the past is replete with examples of ordinary people working together to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. History is a guide to a better future and demonstrates that we can become a better society—but only if we collectively demand it from each other and from the institutions responsible for administering justice.

Frederick Douglass famously said, “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground…. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle.” At this pivotal moment when the eyes of the nation and the world are upon Minneapolis, will we join the struggle to seek justice and equality? Will we heed the call of courageous figures throughout history who spoke out against slavery, marched on for voting rights, and sat in for basic equality? Will we challenge the nation to live up to its founding ideals? In the memory of those taken from us and for the good of the country, I hope that we do.

To create an equal society, and to commit to making unbiased choices and being antiracist in all aspects of our lives, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture offers the online portal, "Tips for Talking About Race."

Read entire article at Smithsonian Magazine

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