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“Finally, the truth is being told” Making Invisible Histories Visible at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture

When Nov 21, 2019
from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM
Where McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge
Contact Name
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Cambridge Heritage Research Seminar

 

“Finally, the truth is being told”: Making Invisible Histories Visible at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture

 

Dr Anna-Lisa Cox

Non-Resident Fellow, Hutchin’s Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University 

Author of “The Bone and Sinew of the Land”: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and The Struggle for Equality

 

Anna-Lisa Cox

There has long been a popular myth that the “heartland” of America – a region known as the Midwest – was settled by white pioneers. While there is growing awareness of the First Nations who were already there, the fact that there were tens of thousands of free African-descended peoples settling hundreds of settlements on this frontier, starting right after the American Revolution, has long been denied. The history of this population continues to be actively erased from the national narrative by the current work of popular American historians, while governmental entities from the township level up to the state level in the Midwest have been burning down the homes these Black pioneers built and refusing to fund sites that bear witness to their history.

If a population of African-descended people this large and influential during the 1800s could be erased, all because they are not seen as “belonging,” what other regions and times are also being affected by the erasure of African-descended peoples? Dr. Cox will discuss the responsibilities, powers and limitations of national museums to make visible these denied populations.


 

 

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The CHRC is a collaboration of six departments. This is symbolized through six stripes in Cambridge Blue in the CHRC logo. The mesh-work arising from the darker stripes represents the collaboration of the CHRC and the heritage field at large.

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