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Evangeline Montgomery

Curator, printmaker, and mixed media artist Evangeline "EJ" Montgomery was born on May 2, 1930, in New York. Her mother, Carmelite Thompson, was a homemaker and her father, Oliver Thompson was a Baptist minister. She discovered her artistic talents when she received her first oil painting set at the age of fourteen. After her parents separated, Montgomery and her mother moved to Harlem in New York, New York. In 1951, Montgomery earned her high school diploma from Seward Park High School in lower Manhattan, where she was a cheerleader, a member of the swim and basketball teams and a member of student government.

From 1951 until 1954, she worked at statuaries, painting the faces on dolls and religious statues. In 1955, Montgomery moved to Los Angeles with her husband and worked for Thomas Usher, an African American jewelry designer. She received her B.F.A. degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts) in 1969 and she worked as an independent curator to museums, university galleries and art centers where she organized exhibits. In 1971, she served as the curator for the Rainbow Sign Gallery in Berkeley, California before becoming an exhibition specialist for the American Association for State and Local History in Nashville, Tennessee and coordinating eight national workshops on “Interpreting the Humanities through Museum Exhibits.” She also organized national exhibit workshops for the Association of African American Museums. In 1983, Montgomery began her career with the United States State Department as a program development officer for the Arts America Program, specializing in American exhibitions touring abroad. In this capacity, she developed and implemented successful American fine art programs in the United States and throughout the world. In her own art career, Montgomery is noted for her metal work, especially her metal ancestral boxes which were inspired by the Chinese incense boxes her mother used for praying. Her colorful lithographs have also garnered her attention, being prominently displayed in exhibitions funded by the United States government.

In 1997, she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease which has made it difficult for Montgomery to work with metal. However, she has not let the diagnosis limit her artistic vision, instead shifting her focus to printmaking, lithographs, and the digital arts. In 2005, Blacks In Government (BIG) began the Evangeline J. Montgomery Scholarship Program, to encourage and fund artists who are interested in working in government to spread the influence of the arts.

Evangeline "EJ" Montgomery was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.258

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/13/2004

Last Name

Montgomery

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

Seward Park High School

Los Angeles City College

California College of the Arts

California State University, Los Angeles

University of California, Berkeley

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Evangeline

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MON03

Favorite Season

April

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Northern California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/2/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Printmaker, curator, and mixed media artist Evangeline Montgomery (1930 - ) began her career as an arts administrator in San Francisco, California and since then, has worked tirelessly to create opportunities to showcase African American artists.

Employment

Oakland Museum of California

American Association for State and Local History

United States Information Agency

United States Department of State

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:2680,25:3130,31:9070,104:9790,112:10510,121:12040,144:12760,154:13120,159:19596,170:20289,179:20685,188:26476,251:27586,275:28548,291:32027,352:32774,361:33936,385:34434,393:36094,421:36924,432:38833,461:39829,476:40493,481:41074,489:45335,527:47960,570:48335,577:51335,634:56696,673:57788,692:58698,706:60660,715:68140,790:68460,795:75810,896:76530,908:79730,927:81630,945:83333,955:84640,962:93192,1052:93504,1057:94050,1065:99588,1164:100446,1177:100758,1182:101070,1187:108870,1231:110865,1254:113900,1277:114494,1287:119670,1361:120125,1369:134130,1480:134614,1485:138938,1538:149610,1625$0,0:230,21:1030,31:9738,87:33490,263:36370,300:38463,336:56983,514:57409,522:57835,529:58474,544:58829,550:59823,569:63545,619:63920,625:64445,634:72602,699:85338,820:89999,834:90711,845:91423,854:93381,877:94004,885:102320,959:106850,1033:111160,1098:111484,1103:112132,1115:114826,1138:115239,1147:115534,1153:117770,1169:121726,1204:131810,1293:132370,1303:145580,1388:158314,1488:159286,1498:165273,1558:176636,1638:176932,1643:177302,1649:178116,1663:178782,1673:189738,1800:198700,1915:201786,1934:202482,1943:205147,1974:215196,2036:216060,2047:217692,2079:222340,2102:230710,2170:232990,2191:236790,2218:238450,2239
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Evangeline Montgomery's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Evangeline Montgomery lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about being adopted

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about meeting Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her home life as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Evangeline Montgomery describes memorable communities in which she grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Evangeline Montgomery describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her elementary school interests and aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her experience growing up as the daughter of a Baptist minister

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her move to New York, New York after her parents' divorce

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her junior high school experiences at P.S. 43 in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her experiences at Seward Park High School in New York, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her experiences at Seward Park High School in New York, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about relocating to Massachusetts with her mother after graduating from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her employment in the art industry after graduating from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her work in the jewelry field before attending Los Angeles City College in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Evangeline Montgomery describes the process for designing jewelry with enamel

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her studio art experiences in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about being dissuaded from teaching art

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her impressions of art in Nigeria

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her experience of art exhibitions during the black studies movement

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about coordinating an exhibition on Sargent Claude Johnson's life and art

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon the impact of African American art in California during the black studies movement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about curating African American ethnic art and at the Rainbow Sign Gallery in Berkeley and the Oakland Museum of California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her work for the American Association for State and Local History in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about working with the Association of African American Museums

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Evangeline Montgomery describes the impetus for creating metal ancestral boxes

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Evangeline Montgomery describes how she came to work for the U.S. Information Agency as its program development officer for exhibitions

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about notable African American artists with whom she worked

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her process for working in lithography

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about the impact of technology on visual art processes and mediums

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about challenges faced by African American artists

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her visual art and metal pieces

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about the challenges she faces as an artist with Parkinson's disease

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her Blacks in Government scholarship fund, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about opportunities for African American artists

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about the demand for African American artwork

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her Blacks in Government scholarship fund, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon the importance of the arts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon her experiences as an artist and art administrator

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about inspirational artists

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon her artwork and artistic mediums

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her hopes for curating a book art installation in the future

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Evangeline Montgomery shares advice for pursuing a career as an artist

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her role as art commissioner in San Francisco, California

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

12$4

DATitle
Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon the impact of African American art in California during the black studies movement
Evangeline Montgomery describes the impetus for creating metal ancestral boxes
Transcript
And at the time when the black studies explosion was taking place, what impact do you think that had on African American artists?$$Well, it was great for them because it began to open new doors for them. For instance, I did exhibitions. I organized exhibitions for all the colleges in and around the [San Francisco] Bay Area [California] and some in Southern California even. I was able to bring artists from Southern California into exhibitions in Northern California. I also decided that if I was asked to do a show in a university setting or something like that, that I would try to get an artist from outside of the area as a guest artist as part of the show. For instance, I did an exhibition at Stanford University [Stanford, California] on printmaking. And I invited an artist from Boston [Massachusetts], Calvin Burnett, who is a famous printmaker, and had a dozen of his pieces as part of the show, so that I as introducing a new name, new style, someone who had reached heights in, in that particular medium.$$And were you finding that only African Americans were interested in African American artists?$$No, in California it was truly accepted by everybody in that they came to see. And if, if coordinated in the right way, the, lot of publicity and whatnot, everybody came to see. Now, whether in museums and whatnot, you're not necessarily selling works of art. So--$$You're just showing them.$$Just showing and giving people a history, and a background, and also offering an opportunity to look at abstract work, to look at images of themselves, to look at quality art, new technology, things like that.$Tell us a little bit about the ancestral boxes that you create out of metal.$$Well, my mother [Carmelite Thompson] had an incense burner, and it's a Chinese little vessel. And she used to write notes, and when she prayed over them and thought about them, if the experience that she wanted to happen came to pass in a favorable manner, then she would burn the note. I knew that she was using this incense burner for something. But, and I had seen her place things in it, but I had never looked in it, ever. And when my mother died, the, the first thing I did was to open that incense burner, lift the cover off, and there were two notes placing me in God's hands. Now, I was an adult, but I was divorcing and you know, had problems of my own and whatnot. So she, she was still thinking about me even in her sickest moments. And when I was thinking about an object to, to make, I first made incense burners. And there are three of those incense burners from the first set that I made in the collection of the Oakland Museum in California [Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California]. Then they turned into box shapes, and I began to think about ancestral worship and whatnot and I had seen containers in Africa knew that they make, use them for various things.$$How, how did you make your first ancestral box?$$They're all made out of wax originally, and then they are cast using a method that Africans use a lot.$$What's the method?$$Well, forming them in, in some sort of container situation in a mold, and then burning out the wax, and then pouring in hot molting metal into your mold shape and casting.$$And--$$And I, I feel these boxes are for something precious. They could be used as incense burners whether they're a box or whatnot. But they also could hold like your wedding ring, your tooth, all your baby teeth and, or anything, something.$$How, how big are they usually?$$They're fairly small, two by two, three by three.$$When did you make your first one?$$Sixty-nine [1969].$$What do you keep in yours?$$I don't keep anything in mine (laughter). I just have them. And I recently sold some of the earlier ones. They have been included in exhibitions over the years, and are recorded in several publications.

Lonnie Bunch

Historian and educator Lonnie G. Bunch was born November 18, 1952, in Newark, New Jersey. After graduating from Belleville High School in 1970, Bunch enrolled in Howard University and later transferred to the American University in Washington, D.C. Bunch stayed at American, earning his B.A. degree in 1974; his M.A. degree in 1976; and his Ph.D. in 1979. Bunch's degrees were in the fields of American and African American history.

While working on his doctorate, Bunch went to work for the Smithsonian Institution as an educator and historian. After earning his Ph.D., Bunch took a position with the University of Massachusetts as a professor of history, where he remained until 1983. Crossing the country, Bunch became the founding curator of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles in 1983, and remained there until 1989. From there Bunch went on to become the associate director for curatorial affairs at the National Museum of American History, a position he retained until 2000. In 2001, Bunch became the president of the Chicago Historical Society, one of the oldest history museums in the nation.

Bunch published numerous books and magazine articles on topics ranging from African American history to cultural experiences in Japan. Bunch served as a trustee of the American Association of Museums and the Council of the American Association of State & Local History, and was a member of the American Antiquarian Society. Bunch was later appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House.

Accession Number

A2003.212

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

9/5/2003

Last Name

Bunch

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

G.

Schools

Belleville High School

American University

Howard University

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Lonnie

Birth City, State, Country

Newark

HM ID

BUN01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Never believe your own clippings.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/18/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hamburgers

Short Description

Museum chief executive and curator Lonnie Bunch (1952 - ) was the founding curator of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. Bunch later served as the Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the National Museum of American History, the president of the Chicago Historical Society, and on the Commission for the Preservation of the White House.

Employment

Smithsonian Institute

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

California Afro-American Museum

National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution

Chicago Historical Society

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4675,131:5440,147:5950,154:6545,162:7990,194:9350,221:10455,258:11560,272:15810,344:16235,350:17595,374:20060,426:24735,576:35000,716:35675,732:35975,737:39125,786:41975,846:42350,852:43100,868:43700,877:44000,882:44375,888:44825,902:46550,949:46925,955:47675,971:49925,1019:50525,1029:55850,1181:56750,1201:64827,1258:65182,1264:66602,1307:71643,1414:71927,1419:72211,1424:76714,1447:77084,1453:77380,1458:77676,1463:79452,1480:80118,1490:80710,1506:81450,1528:81820,1534:82708,1550:83300,1559:83670,1583:85002,1593:85890,1607:86556,1618:87000,1630:87666,1644:88036,1650:97630,1822$0,0:1701,44:2106,50:6804,144:7776,158:9477,189:13522,245:13826,250:14206,257:15726,292:16030,297:16334,302:17930,325:18462,344:19450,366:20134,378:20894,391:21578,402:21958,408:22718,428:23402,443:23858,450:24390,458:24770,464:29634,564:30242,574:31534,597:32218,608:32826,617:33358,628:39484,670:40204,683:42340,688:42736,704:43924,727:44914,746:48535,806:50381,860:51233,874:52014,888:52369,894:53292,917:54783,954:56274,994:56913,1005:58120,1034:58404,1039:58688,1044:60676,1123:60960,1128:61386,1136:61741,1142:62309,1151:64226,1212:64794,1221:65220,1228:65930,1239:70758,1376:71255,1384:71539,1389:71894,1395:73953,1447:74308,1453:74663,1459:84304,1568:85456,1614:91280,1739:96960,1788:97513,1797:102800,1850:103130,1856:103790,1872:104582,1894:104846,1899:105572,1905:105836,1921:106430,1933:108410,1971:108938,1984:109928,2006:110324,2014:110654,2020:112832,2074:113954,2099:114218,2104:115868,2154:117056,2172:117386,2178:117650,2183:118244,2195:118574,2201:118970,2212:119234,2217:119630,2225:121016,2252:121478,2262:122732,2298:123326,2312:124382,2336:124910,2346:125504,2356:125834,2363:126296,2371:126560,2376:126890,2382:127154,2387:127418,2392:134336,2406:138074,2452:142298,2538:142650,2546:143002,2551:152084,2709:152750,2724:153194,2732:153490,2737:156672,2809:157042,2815:158670,2863:159336,2874:159854,2886:163952,2900:164204,2905:169432,2996:172568,3053:173058,3059:178786,3146:179896,3165:181080,3183:185860,3265:187360,3302:190702,3360:191372,3372:191774,3379:192578,3393:195258,3472:195727,3481:196129,3489:196866,3506:197603,3520:199680,3568:201087,3606:201355,3617:206849,3764:207251,3771:207653,3779:209395,3810:210735,3838:211003,3843:211405,3850:211673,3855:221181,3967:226395,4057:226711,4062:227343,4070:228133,4083:228449,4088:231830,4096:232514,4118:233027,4132:233255,4138:233768,4155:234509,4179:234737,4184:235136,4192:235421,4200:236105,4214:236618,4222:237986,4281:238385,4290:238727,4298:242800,4339
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lonnie Bunch interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his father's origins and career choices

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch talks about the origins of his family name

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch talks about his mother and his parents' courtship

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his earliest memories of Belleville, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch recalls the sights, smells and sounds of Belleville, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lonnie Bunch remembers his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lonnie Bunch describes his upbringing and parents' influence

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the cultural composition of his hometown, Belleville, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the role of religion in his family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch remembers episodes from his all-white elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his family's approach to racism

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch remembers conversations with his family members

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch reflects on the cultural exclusion of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch describes his childhood personality and interests

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lonnie Bunch shares his early memories of baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lonnie Bunch remembers his junior high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lonnie Bunch remembers historical events from the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his exposure to black culture as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Lonnie Bunch recalls an early interracial love interest, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch recalls an early interracial love interest, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the Italian influence in his hometown

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch remembers influential people from his early life

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch explains his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his experience at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the leadership of Howard University in the early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch remembers the students of Howard University in the early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lonnie Bunch discusses activism at Howard University in the early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lonnie Bunch describes color prejudice at Howard University in the early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Lonnie Bunch discusses Howard University's history department in the early 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch describes his father's mentoring of neighborhood children on higher education

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch considers the long tradition of black historians

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch considers the history and African American studies disciplines

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his literary pursuits during college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his early scholarly interests

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch explains his decision to transfer from Howard University to American University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his decision to attend graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the role of mentoring in his graduate studies

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch describes his early professional years at the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the African American presence in museum exhibitions

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch considers his role as a historian

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch discusses becoming a professor at the University of Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch becomes the curator of the California African American Museum

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch remembers the originators of the California African American Museum

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lonnie Bunch describes his approach to the California African American Museum

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his first book project 'Black Angelenos: The Afro-American in Los Angeles, 1850-1950'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his initiatives as founding curator of the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch reflects on his research methodology

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch compares regional black communities

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his appointment at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch describes diversity at the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his early projects as a curator at the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his role in and the positive effects of a Smithsonian exhibition in Japan

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the impact of the Smithsonian Institution's slavery exhibition

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch discusses invaluable knowledge contained in the WPA slave narratives

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch comments on the issue of reparations for slavery

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch recalls his proudest moments at the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch explains his move from the Smithsonian Institution to the Chicago Historical Society

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch describes his plans for the Chicago Historical Society

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the evolution of studies in public history

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch describes the role of urban history

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch considers the past, present and future of African American studies

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch contemplates integration's potential

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch offers his concerns for the black community

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch considers his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with his parents and grandparents in Woodland, North Carolina, 1954

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's mother and father in their Belleville, New Jersey home, early 1960s

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's paternal grandmother, Leanna Brodie-Bunch

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's oldest daughter, Katie Elizabeth Bunch

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter Sarah Maria Bunch, Herndon, Virginia, ca. 1997

Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with his brother and father, Belleville, New Jersey, ca. 1961

Tape: 8 Story: 13 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch and his wife, Maria Marable Bunch, on the Champs-Elysees, Paris, France, 1995

Tape: 8 Story: 14 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's paternal great-great-grandfather, Robert Lee Brodie, Neuse, North Carolina, 1959

Tape: 8 Story: 15 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's great-great-great-grandmother, Jane Dunn, Neuse, North Carolina, 1913

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with colleagues from the American Festival, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1993

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with others at the exhibition, 'The Black Olympians: 1904-1984', Los Angeles, California, June, 1984

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's parents and daughters at Christmastime, Oak Park, Illinois, December, 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, vacationing in San Diego, California, August, 2003

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, in her soccer uniform, Oak Park, Illinois, 2003

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, playing soccer in Manchester, England, 2002

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's wife and daughter taking a break from vacationing in Tijuana, Mexico, August, 2003

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, on a visit to Taos, New Mexico, 2002

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with his daughter, Katherine Elizabeth Bunch, Santa Barbara, California, ca. 1985-1986

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's wife, Maria Marable-Bunch, and daughter, Katherine Elizabeth Bunch, San Francisco, California, 1986

Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Katherine Elizabeth Bunch on her high school graduation day, Herndon, Virginia, June, 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 12 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, on vacation in Kona, Hawaii, 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 13 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's wife, Maria Marable-Bunch, and daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, Oak Park, Illinois, ca. 2003

Tape: 9 Story: 14 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's wife and daughters in New York, New York, December, 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 15 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughters, Sarah Maria Bunch and Katherine Elizabeth Bunch, Oak Park, Illinois, December, 2002

Tape: 9 Story: 16 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with his wife and children on a visit to Frederick Douglass's home in Washington, D.C., 1991

Tape: 9 Story: 17 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with members of his staff from the Smithsonian Institution on a visit to Tokyo, Japan, 1992

Tape: 9 Story: 18 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with his wife, Maria Marable-Bunch, Tyson's Corner, Virginia, 1999

Tape: 9 Story: 19 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with other members of the Accreditation Council of the American Association of Museums, Washington, D.C., 1999

Tape: 9 Story: 20 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's mother, Montrose Boone Bunch's extended family at a reunion in Norfolk, Virginia, 1998

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DATitle
Lonnie Bunch explains his decision to attend Howard University
Lonnie Bunch discusses the African American presence in museum exhibitions
Transcript
Why not Shaw [University, Raleigh, North Carolina] for you? How did that, and what--.$$They wanted me to go to Shaw--well, no, my mother did. My father thought that Shaw was this tiny, little place and, and in fact, he felt that I shouldn't have gone to a black college because he says, you know, it's 1970. You should be (unclear). And he never understood this. I was willing to not go to a black college initially. In fact, I was gonna go to Notre Dame [University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana]. And got into Notre Dame, and they--,$$With football?$$I was gonna play, but I wasn't gonna get a scholarship, but I was gonna try it. So I was gonna go to Notre Dame. And I'll never forget this. I got a letter. It was like maybe April of 1970 'cause I was graduating that June. And it said, you know, "welcome to Notre Dame. As a black student, you'll probably need extra help. If you sign up for this, you can,"--and I was livid. Extra help! I was as smart as any white kid, so I refused to go. So suddenly, it's now April, and I'm refusing to go to Notre Dame. So my Dad says, "Well, you got into Howard [University, Washington, D.C.]. Do you want to go to Howard?" And I had never visited Howard. But I knew it was this epitome of black education so I said, "Yeah, let's go." So that's how I ended up at Howard, by tell, by turning Notre Dame down and--and then by going to Howard. So they were disappointed because I think they felt that by 1970, we shouldn't have to go to a black college. And I would argue they were probably right that I was one of that last generation of people who really, you know, saw the black college as being, you know--Howard was equal to Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] in my mind. And so I think it's how I ended up getting--going there.$Were the holdings of the [National] Air and Space Museum [Washington, D.C.], was there a lot represented in terms of African Americans that you found there?$$There was a lot on blacks--the Tuskegee Airmen--a lot on that.$$(simultaneously) So at this point, they had already--they had--do you know when that--$$At this point, part of what I was hired for was to help work on the exhibition. They had a small piece. They had an airplane and a little exhibit which went up in '75 [1975]. I think it was a bicentennial-driven thing. And so then part of what I was doing was working on the broader history of aviation because in those days--I won't bore you with all the details, but that people who were interested in race and technology focused just on the Tuskegee Airmen. And while I was interested in that, I was really interested in barnstormers. I was interested in black men and women from Bessie Coleman to William Powell to, you know, [James] Herman Banning, I was interested in the people who went before. And where that idea came from was one of the joys of the Smithsonian [Institution, Washington, D.C.] is that many of those Tuskegee Airmen either were, came through or were involved. So I can remember having interviews with 'Chief' Albert Anderson--Alfred Anderson, who taught the Tuskegee Airmen how to fly. And I said, "Where'd you learn?" He said, "I learned from these early barnstormers." I said, "Nobody's ever talked about these people before." And I talked to some of the Tuskegee Airmen, and they would say they would say they learned from X and Y and so that got me interested in that. And so--and plus, because I was a nineteenth century historian, the closer I could get to the nineteenth century, the better off I felt. And so I did some writing on race and technology in the '20s [1920s] and '30s [1930s], but there really wasn't a collection that could talk about that. So I did some of the collecting on that. This was in the, this was the late '70s [1970s], so some of those folks were still alive. So William Powell, who was a pioneer in aviation, was from Chicago [Illinois]. His daughter lived here so I interviewed her. There were some of the early pilots who were here in Chicago especially. So it gave me a chance to sort of travel around the country doing research. It gave me a chance to recognize that a subject that might seem very narrow, would have this broad appeal.$$And you--during that time, isn't there, you know, in the '70s [1970s], there was a lot of sort of looking, from an oral history standpoint, at non--underlooked sort of--(unclear).$$Absolutely. And so--.$$(simultaneously) Okay, you know, there was funding for it.$$Absolutely. There was--but part of what happened at the Smithsonian, candidly, was, and I always say that I was there because of [U.S. Senator Edward] Ted Kennedy. Around the time of the bicentennial, some blacks from Massachusetts--the Air and Space Museum opened for the bicentennial, okay. So there was already an Air and Space Museum, but it was in other buildings. So its own building opened in, you know, in '76 [1976]. And so many--some, some Massachusetts African Americans said to Ted Kennedy, where is our story? And Ted Kennedy called a hearing asking about race and technology 'cause the first response was, well, there wasn't any. And he had a hearing and people testified and then they said in the Air and Space Museum and here's these stories. So I was hired in part to collect the oral histories, to begin to see were there stories and to begin to think about are there objects to help tell those stories. And the one thing that the Air and Space Museum had that no other museum had, was they had all the airplanes in the world. So you could always find an appropriate airplane. So--but that really all came out of this desire from scholars to find out how the other half lived. And to begin--this was a period of--I would argue rather than a period of synthesis, it was a period of discovery. It was a period of saying, there's so much African American, so much history that we've forgotten, that we don't know, that hasn't been publicized, that hasn't been written about. Let's get all that to surface, and then we'll figure out what to do with it. So this was part of getting all of that, that to the surface.