Museums and libraries are societal cornerstones and the role they play in seismic events of the world around them is not relegated to a rear-view mirror of times long past. They put current events in historical context so that people can better understand the times they’re living through.
In this National Book Festival Presents conversation, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Lonnie Bunch discuss the national protests that have roiled the nation after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
In part, the pair discuss how cultural institutions are the glue that holds human cultures together. But they also talk about the institutional racism in the United States that Floyd’s death laid bare and their own experiences as African Americans dealing with both subtle and violent racism. Hayden tells the story of an uncle who was shot to death by a white shop owner — because the man’s daughter found him attractive.
Subscribe to the blog— it’s free! — and the largest library in world history will send cool stories straight to your inbox.