The nearly fifty-year gap between the establishment of Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum (ACM) and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) created a difference in the museums’ central narratives about Blackness and the inclusion of Afro-Latinidad. The Anacostia emerged in 1967 as part of the Black museum movement. It has historically framed Blackness as DC-based African Americanness with periodic inclusion of Afro-Latinidad. The first object in the collection of the NMAAHC is from Ecuador, signaling an inclusive representation of Black identities that foundationally includes Afro-Latinidad.
Afro-Latinidad in the Smithsonian’s African American Museum Spaces
Ariana A. Curtis joined the National Museum of African American History and Culture in January 2017 as the first curator of Latinx Studies. In this role, she is responsible for interpreting topics and issues relating to U. S. Latinxs & Afro-Latinxs, African American & Latinx communities, African Americans in Latin America, and African Diasporic communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Previously, Curtis was the curator of Latino Studies at Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. While there, in addition to conducting Latinx-centered public programming, she curated two bilingual exhibitions: Bridging the Americas and Gateways/Portales. She organized the 2014 Revisiting Our Black Mosaic symposium on race and immigration in Washington, D.C. and guest lectures at local colleges and universities. Curtis holds a doctorate in anthropology with a concentration in race, gender, and social justice from American University. She earned an MA in Public Anthropology also from American University and a BA from Duke University.
Ariana A. Curtis; Afro-Latinidad in the Smithsonian’s African American Museum Spaces. The Public Historian 1 August 2018; 40 (3): 278–291. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2018.40.3.278
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