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When Black History Is Unearthed, Who Speaks for the Dead?



Landecker Democracy Fellow Tsione Wolde-Michael is not only engaged in curating art and history, but also in creating new structures and fields of study.

In an article written by acclaimed historian Jill Lepore for the New Yorker, Tsione states that “there are very few historical moments that create openings like the one we have right now.”

Tsione is using the critical opening to support “publics around the globe [who] are pushing not just museums but universities, and governments, all sorts of major institutions, to not just issue solidarity statements, but to create altogether new structures.”

There are very few historical moments that create openings like the one we have right now.

Specifically, Tsione has worked to build a new theory and methodology for historical work, grounded in redress. The restorative justice-based structures she has created result in more accurate, community-driven storytelling and exhibits that she brings to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History as director of a new Center for Restorative History.

In addition, the article also highlights the initiatives of Black archaeologists, including the Society for Black Archaeologists.

You can find the full article which quotes Tsione and names her as a leader in the field of redress work here in the New Yorker.

Tsione is one of thirty 2020-2021 Landecker Democracy Fellows. This fellowship, a collaboration between the Alfred Landecker Foundation and Humanity in Action, was created to strengthen a new generation of leaders whose approaches to political and social challenges can become catalysts for democratic placemaking and community building. Read more about the fellowship here.