Tracing America's Painful Past Can Offer Lessons for the Future
On Saturday night, staff from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation will be attending the DuSable Museum of African American History’s “Night of 100 Stars,” a benefit highlighting the amazing achievements of notable individuals, including artist and musician Chancelor “Chance the Rapper” Bennett, former World Food Program executive director Ertharin Cousin, and Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. and former president of the Chicago History Museum.
Lonnie Bunch also had a piece in today’s New York Times about a recent incident at the National Museum in whcih someone placed a noose near one of the museum’s exhibits. This follows instances of nooses being left elsewhere on the National Mall in recent weeks, and in other places around the country as signs of racial hate and intimidation.
Bunch offers a powerful view into the continuing story of racism and bigotry in this country, as well as our uneven progress to fulfill our nation’s ideals. He writes about his work to curate the history of African American struggles in a deeply personal way. “Anger and sadness are always parts of this work, but I never let them dominate it. Instead, I use them to help me connect with the people who have suffered and continue to suffer immeasurable pain and injustice, while clinging to their humanity and their vision of a better country.”
Whether it’s the experience at the National Museum or a visit to Chicago’s own DuSable exhibits, the lessons found within their archives, and in our shared lives, are of critical importance for each of us to reflect on and learn from.