New York City may be getting an African American civil rights museum.
The New York City Council recently passed Intro 1451-A, which would assign a local task force to “evaluate the feasibility of creating a museum about New York City’s African-American civil rights history.” The task force of 11 appointed members will consist of commissioners or representatives from the city’s departments of immigrant affairs, cultural affairs, human rights, records, and parks and recreation selected within 60 days of the law’s effective date.
“New York City’s African-American civil rights history is another untold story,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera, who sponsored the bill, in a press release. “New York was the nexus of civil rights in the north and helped spark what we know as the ‘Civil Rights Movement,’ which largely took place in the South from 1955 through 1960s.”
The selection process will be complete and submit its recommendations by March 2021. The chancellor of the Department of Education and five borough-level appointments by Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio will be working on the team as well.
Many institutions have been opened or commissioned nationwide, thanks to the cultural demand for African American history to be recognized. This includes cultural sites of historical importance. These include the Whitney Plantation in Louisiana (2014) to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C (2016), the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (2017), and the National Memorial of Memory and Justice in Alabama (2018).
“There’s an untold civil rights movement story that needs to be told here, not just for us, but for our children, grandchildren, and all generations to come, regardless of nationality,” Cabrera continued. “The risks and personal sacrifices made by African American New Yorkers are a guidepost and inspiration for standing up for justice.”
The legislation is now awaiting the mayor’s signature.