The Museum Grappling With the Future of Black America

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

“It is an act of patriotism to understand where we’ve been.”

So said President Barack Obama during his speech at the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which celebrated its one-year anniversary on September 24. “This,” Obama had continued, “is the place to understand how protest and love of country don’t merely coexist, but inform each other.” His words feel eerily prescient given the national news of the past week—a week that coincidentally marked the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine’s first day at an all-white high school—and, more broadly, the past year.

Since the election of Donald Trump, conversations about the history of race and the utility of protest have remained at