The effort to preserve African American history is firmly grounded in the struggle for freedom and equality. Black people understood the relationship between heritage and the freedom struggle. Such struggles in the pre and post Civil War eras spurred the preservation of African and African American culture first in libraries and archives and later museums. The civil rights, Black Power, Black Arts and Black Studies movements helped advance social and political change, which in turn spurred the development of Black museums as formal institutions for preserving African American culture.
The Impact of Social Movements on the Development of African American Museums
John E. Fleming graduated from Berea College, in Berea, Kentucky, in 1966. He attended the University of Kentucky and the University of Malawi before graduating from Howard University with a PhD in American History in 1974. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi from 1967–69. He has worked for several civil rights organizations before becoming the director of the National Afro-American Museum at Wilberforce. He has also served as director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati Museum Center in Cincinnati. He has served as executive producer of the 12,000 square foot America I AM exhibition with Tavis Smiley. He has published three books and over forty-five articles and chapters in books. He has served as president of the Ohio Museums Association and the Association of African American Museums. He has served on the board of the American Association of Museums. He currently is director of the National Museum of African American Music. In 2018, he will assume the presidency of AASLH.
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John E. Fleming; The Impact of Social Movements on the Development of African American Museums. The Public Historian 1 August 2018; 40 (3): 44–73. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2018.40.3.44
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