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The Enduring Emancipation:
From President Lincoln to President Obama

For a nation at war over slavery, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was inevitable. Its timing and content, however, were not without great struggle. The “how” of the proclamation was just as critical as the “when,” but it began a chain of events that changed not just our Constitution but the face of the nation. Lonnie Bunch, Founding Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, will examine Lincoln’s challenges to introduce a document that became a cornerstone event for communities of all races for generations to come.

Lonnie Bunch
Lonnie G. Bunch III
Founding Director
Smithsonian National Museum of
   African American History and
Historian, author, curator and educator

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In this position he is working to set the museum’s mission, coordinate its fundraising and membership campaigns, develop its collections, and establish cultural partnerships. Prior to his July 2005 appointment as director of NMAAHC, Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society, one of the nation’s oldest museums of history. Bunch has held several positions at the Smithsonian. As the National Museum of American History’s (NMAH) Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, he oversaw the curatorial and collections management staff and led the curatorial team that developed the major permanent exhibition American Presidency: A Glorious Burden. A prolific and widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from the black military experience, all-black towns in the American West, and the American presidency to diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. In 2005, Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals in the 20th century by the American Association of Museums.