I believe 2020 will be remembered as the year that, finally, anti-racist work became recognized as essential in the United States. Addressing the damaging institutional practice of omitting and erasing Black names, voices, and perspectives had created a culture in which killing us was commonplace and okay.
Museums and historic sites’ roles in this omission is significant. Though some serve as vital community centers, many were founded and continue to be funded by the white and wealthy, with the wealth derived from a history of slavery, colonialism, exploitation, and violence.
In the South, archives were established at the turn of the Nineteenth Century with the mission to preserve an incomplete documentation of the region in favor of white supremacy and the Confederacy. The Tate, Etienne, Prevost (TEP) Center counters these narratives in its very existence. Inside its walls, we will engage the public in anti-racism programs, education, and exhibitions.
As we do at the Living Museum, we will strive to be a resource location for the public to discuss and learn about our complex and changing culture.
Challenging and addressing systematic roadblocks is a long-term endeavor. But, I’ve been ready and remain committed to fighting racism since my first day at McDonogh 19, a building I now co-own. There is power in that. When the campus reopens in 2021, our mission to advocate for racial reconciliation and social change will continue in the Lower Ninth Ward. A safe space for New Orleans and those who visit to engage in the critical anti-racism work that needs to be done for our survival.