“Despite the presence of two hundred museums, in the United States and abroad, the arc of the history, mission, and practice of Black museums in the United States remains largely unknown in both the larger public history and museum studies fields.” – Deborah L. Mack and John S. Welch, introduction to The Public Historian, special issue on the state of black museums
In a statement responding to the killing of George Floyd, The National Council on Public History noted that “Public history practice does not stand apart from structural racism.” Mack and Welch make clear that public history teaching and scholarship do not stand apart from structural racism either. We need to do a better job of incorporating Black Public History into the fields of museum studies and public history. Please use this bibliography as a tool. Amplify this scholarship by incorporating it into your teaching syllabi and research.
This is bibliography is continually developing. Please make suggestions on Twitter @Tawny_Paul or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Issue of The Public Historian: “State of Black Museums: Historiography Commemorating The Founding and Existence of Black Museums Over Four Decades.” Freely available through June 2020. This is a great place to start.
Andrea Burns, From Storefront to Monument: Tracing the Public History of the Black Museum Movement, (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2013)
Susan Cahan, Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power (Chapel Hill: Duke University Press, 2016).
Christy Colman, ‘‘African American Museums in the Twenty-first Century,’’ Museum Philosophy for the Twenty-first Century, ed. Hugh H. Genoways (Lanham, Md: Altamira Press, 2016).
James A. Horton and Lois E. Horton, Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008).
Joy G. Kinard, The Man, The Movement, The Museum: The Journey of John R. Kinard as the First African American Director of a Smithsonian Institution Museum (Washington, DC: A.P. Foundation Press, 2017)
Keith A. Mayes, Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition (London: Routledge Press, 2009)
Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Afrotopia: The Roots of Afro- American Popular History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Dorothy Spruill Redford. Somerset Homecoming: Recovering a Lost Heritage (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000)
Ian Rocksborough-Smith. Black public history in Chicago : civil rights activism from World War II to the cold war (Urbana, Illinois : University of Illinois Press, 2018).
Fath Davis Ruffins, ‘‘Mythos, Memory, and History: African American Preservation Efforts, 1820–1990,’’ Museums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture, ed. Ivan Karp, Christine Mullen Kreamer, and Steven D. Lavine (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992).
Jennifer Scott, ‘‘Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century at a Post Emancipation Site,’’ The Public Historian 37, no. 2 (May 2015): 73–88.
Jeffrey C. Stewart and Fath Davis Ruffins, ‘‘A Faithful Witness: Afro-American Public History in Historical Perspective,’’ in Presenting the Past: Critical Perspectives on History and the Public, ed. Susan Porter Benson, Stephen Brier, and Roy Rosenzweig (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986).
Tiya Miles. The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010).
Tiya Miles. Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2015).
Robert L. Wilkins, Long Road to a Hard Truth: The 100 year Mission to Create the National Museum of African American History and Culture (Washington, DC: Proud Legacy Publishing, 2016).
Christopher Wilson. “We Legitimize the ‘So-Called’ Confederacy with our Vocabulary, and that’s a Problem.” Smithsonian Magazine, Sept 12 2017.
Mabel O. Wilson, Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African America History and Culture (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2016).
Mabel O. Wilson, Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012).
Chad Williams, Kidada E. Williams and Keisha N. Blain, eds., Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence