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National Museum of African American History & Culture Names New Director

Kevin Young comes to the museum from the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center.

Photograph by Evy Mages

The National Museum of African American History & Culture has named its new director: Kevin Young, a writer, poet, and editor who currently runs the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Young will succeed founding director Lonnie Bunch, who was promoted to Secretary of the Smithsonian last November.

In New York, Young is known for popular programs like the Black Comic Book Festival and, more recently, a Black Liberation Reading List. Before working at the Schomburg Center, he was a creative writing professor at Emory University in Atlanta. The accomplished scholar has written 13 books of poetry, essays, and cultural criticism, and he currently edits poetry at The New Yorker. 

“Having visited the museum myself with my family, I know what a powerful place it is, transforming visitors both in-person and online, and revealing the centrality of African American culture to the American experience,” writes Young in a press release. “I am eager to engage further directions in the museum’s mission, embracing our digital present and future while furthering conversations around Black history, art, liberation and joy.”

Young will start in the new role on January 11, 2021.

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Web Producer/Writer

Rosa joined Washingtonian in 2016 after graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She covers arts and culture for the magazine. She’s written about anti-racism efforts at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, dinosaurs in the revamped fossil hall at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and the horrors of taking a digital detox. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.

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