America’s Black Community Fights to Protect Their Legacy at NMAAHC

The national reaction is only the tip of the iceberg

This press release was originally distributed by ReleaseWire

Washington DC, WA – (ReleaseWire) – 09/01/2022 – Today Mike Baggz announced his intention to lead a boycott against the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), located on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Recently, concerns have been mounting among Black American descendants of chattel slavery in the United States, who feel betrayed by the museum’s decision to include the preservation of Latinx history in the building. In recent weeks, the NMAAHC has posted a nationwide job listing for a Latin American curator to continue its Latin American studies program, although the museum’s mission statement says it focuses exclusively on non-Latino American blacks who are descendants of chattel slavery that occurred in the United States. . The museum was founded on the understanding that the culture and history of African Americans should not be intertwined with that of other ethnic groups, and the inclusion of Latino culture can therefore be seen as a revision of the story.

Established by an act of Congress in 2003 and opened in 2016, the NMAAHC has served as a global hub to document, commemorate and educate the public about the lineage, history, culture and lives of Black Americans since the beginning of the chattel slavery in the United States. contemporary times. Black Americans from movable slavery are therefore deeply concerned about the redirection of the NMAAHC’s legally established purpose and mission. Mike Baggz and many others have pointed out that the most alarming aspect of including the Latinx identifier is that it would inherently include white-identified Latinos like Rafael Trujillo, who practiced some of the most anti-black racism. vile and most vitriolic of the West. the hemisphere, specifically in the Dominican Republic, by committing genocide against black-skinned Dominicans and Haitians.

Black Americans have recently been very active on social media about this change in the purpose, mission and direction of the NMAAHC. Generally, these responses expressed the sentiment that the inclusion of Latin history in a formal space that was specifically created, by an act of Congress, to focus on black Americans is immoral and confusing. Some comments from representatives of the Latinx community like Soledad O’Brien were quickly shut down on social media. O’Brien, born Maria de la Soledad Teresa O’Brien to Australian and Cuban immigrant parents, is not a descendant of victims of American slavery, so the museum does not focus on her and her lineage, but she weighed.

Speaking on the Torraine Walker Show podcast, Mike Baggz, the entrepreneur who started the conversation on social media, said efforts will continue in the Museum’s pursuit of accountability: “We will continue to demand responsibility of those responsible and will plan accordingly.” He emailed the Museum and received a standard cut-and-paste response back with no real responses or details. In response to the NMAAHC’s misguided mission and lack of commitment from its staff, Baggz created a petition that has garnered over 2,400 signatures to date.

Since the action began, the museum has faced an onslaught of criticism from the black American community over what is seen as an attempt to erase the rich culture and history of this population. The museum’s attempt to be more inclusive of other ethnicities is detrimental to Black American history. “A space specifically created for African Americans should not be mingled with other ethnic groups, and efforts to [include Latino history] will be seen as a revision of the African-American history of the United States,” said Mike Baggz. “The most alarming part of this NMAAHC effort is the fact that it would also include Latinos of all races, many have the vilest anti-black sentiments. that are historically rooted and documented in Latin American culture.”

At the time of this press release, no response has been received from the NMAAHC, and further attempts to follow up on the issue have been ignored.

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