Thursday, July 5, 2018

NEA recognizes Dr. Lonnie G. Bunch, Founding Director of Smithsonian's NMAAHC

Dr. Lonnie G. Bunch III

NEA recognizes Founding Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Dr. L.G. Bunch III

Dr. Bunch is among a dozen recipients of prestigious NEA Human and Civil Rights Award

Minneapolis – As the founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African History and Culture (NMAACH), Dr. L.G. Bunch, III has transformed the understanding of African-American history for generations to come. Bunch has not only created a place for America to honor and celebrate the African-American story, but a place that encourages reflection, dialogue and understanding. That’s why tonight the NEA is honoring Dr. Bunch with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Award.

“The human and civil rights champions we honor tonight are the epitome of the fierce urgency of now that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about in his ‘I have a Dream speech,’” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.

“Through their deeds and actions, they have demonstrated remarkable courage and conviction to stand up for racial and social justice. They have shown an unrelenting resolve and ferocity to make a real difference for public education, students, and our nation’s future. They are shining examples of social justice activism, fighting against injustices every day, and making sure that our great nation lives up to its promise.”

As the Founding Director, Dr. Bunch was given the mandate to conceptualize, build and lead the NMAAHC. His fearlessness, optimism, and infectious enthusiasm have led to the creation of the largest collection of African-American artifacts ever gathered in one place. The Museum brings together the shackles of an enslaved child, Harriett Tubman’s hymnal, the dress Lena Horne wore in Stormy Weather, Chuck Berry’s Cadillac and even the Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership.

Dr. Bunch took the challenge of creating the NMAAHC with an understanding that he was creating a view of America through the lens of the African American experience. The museum would give people the opportunity to realize that we are more alike than we are different. The museum is a shared history of truth about black Americans, and more importantly about America.

Dr. Bunch brought this vision of history – of remembrance – to life in the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where he first collected, then transformed an extraordinary group of artifacts into an urgent, powerful and profound illumination of the American story.

Bunch was among the dozen individuals and organization, including the First Lady Michelle Obama and Know Your Rights Camp, founded by professional quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick, honored at NEA’s 2018 NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards, which took place on Sunday, July 1, in Minneapolis, Minn.

The merger of the NEA and the American Teachers Association in 1966 produced the annual NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards. Since the merger, NEA has recognized and honored educators, individuals, community partners, and organizations that are advancing the mantle for human and civil rights.
To view a list of their bios and achievements, please click here. See a video of Dr. Bunch in action here.

No comments: