BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation issued the following statement today, Feb. 22, 2012 about this morning’s groundbreaking for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The foundation made a $3.5 million grant to the museum.
The groundbreaking for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture raises an interesting and important question: How can a museum conceived as a ‘healing space’ fulfill this role even as it displays some of the most troubling parts of our nation’s history?
It is a question with broader implications for how we discuss racism in this country—implications we should not ignore. Although America has made great strides in creating a more just society, structural but often hidden or unconscious racial biases continue to prevent too many children of color from reaching their full potential. The racial inequities we see in education, health and financial security stem in large part from these biases.
Only by understanding our past and the centuries-old belief system that values one race over another can we surface these biases, ensure that all Americans are able to participate equally in the civic and economic life of our country and achieve lasting healing. Only by fully confronting our nation’s past can we finally put its negative aspects behind us. The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be an important part of this effort and is surely off to a strong start.
For more information on the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and its racial equity initiative, please visit www.AmericaHealing.org.