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Museum Changes Name from African-American to Black
Jun 30 – Jul 13, 2022

The nation’s oldest museum that showcases African American history and culture is now called the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center. It was formerly called the DuSable Museum of African American History. The move to replace “African American” with “Black” as part of the name change has met some critiquing.

“I don’t get the new name,” said Sylvia Jones in the Chicago/Gary Crusader. “This just shows you the thinking of these people.”  Zenobia Johnson Black, who attended the name change unveiling, said she likes the name. “I think the new name will be an improvement to the museum because it could generate ten times more funding and it will tell the story of all Black people,” she told the Crusader.

DuSable’s President Perri Irmer unveiled the new name during the Juneteenth weekend. She hopes the weekend event marks a new beginning for the 61-year-old institution that Dr. Margaret Burroughs co-founded as the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art. Before the founding of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016, the Southside institution had been the largest caretaker of African-American culture in the United States.

Along with the name change, the DuSable is expanding its educational outreach including efforts to attract younger audiences. Dr. Kim L. Dulaney, Vice President of Education and Programs, said “DuSable Museum has always been involved in education. We know that he who controls the education controls understanding. The DuSable has always been involved in education. Dr. Burroughs was an educator herself.”

The DuSable has struggled with dwindling attendance and financial problems and allegations of mismanagement under Irmer’s leadership. In 2018, eight board members left the museum within months, fueling concerns that the DuSable was in trouble.
The Obama Presidential Center is also expected to draw more traffic to the DuSable and other South Side, South Suburban, and Northwest Indiana attractions that are nearby including:

5 minutes to the DuSable Museum of African American History

15 minutes to Pullman National Monument

20 minutes to Chicago’s Finest Marina and Underground Railroad Site Memorial

30 minutes to Hard Rock Casino – Northern Indiana @ Gary

35 minutes to Miller Beach/Marquette Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Gary/Northwest Indiana
Why Africans Became Coloreds, Anglo-Africans, Afro-Americans, Then Negroes By Dr. Nemata Blyden

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