On The Record #114: Lonnie Bunch Talks Black History


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Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, poses for a photograph at the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Bunch has been named as the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian and the first African American to lead the organization. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Lonnie Bunch, the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and the first African American and first historian to serve as head of the Smithsonian, talks to AURN Washington Bureau Chief April Ryan about Black History Month.

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The “black is beautiful” movement, which started in the 1960’s, was a broad embrace of black culture and identity. It called for an appreciation of the black past as a worthy legacy, and it inspired cultural pride in contemporary black achievements. The movement also focused on emotional and psychological well-being; affirming natural hairstyles like the “Afro” and the variety of skin colors, hair textures, and physical characteristics found in the African American community. Black writers used their creativity to support a black cultural revolution. Black artists leveraged their talents and platforms to convey a message of black pride in what became known as the Black Arts Movement. Black scholars urged black Americans to regain connections to the African continent. Popular entertainment grappled with issues of race and representation. Black journalists used the talk-show format to air community concerns. In the words of educator, critic and author Hoyt W. Fuller, “across this country, young black men and women have been infected with a fever of affirmation. They are saying, ‘we are black and beautiful.’” #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory #BlackHistoryMonth⠀ ⠀ ? Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift from Dawn Simon Spears and Alvin Spears, Sr.

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