In 2019, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture Lonnie Bunch III. succeeded as secretary of the Smithsonian Institute. NMAAHC recently announced the selection of poet Kevin Young to fill the director position Bunch left vacant.
Kevin Young is currently the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. As director, Young oversaw the acquisition of important collections, including the Harlem archives of James Baldwin, raised $10 million in grants and donations, and increased attendance by forty percent. Young is also poetry editor for the New Yorker and a prolific poet himself. He has published over fourteen books of poetry and essays. Prior to joining the Schomburg Center, Young taught Creative Writing and English at Emory University in Atlanta for eleven years.
In a statement Secretary Bunch described what Young brings to NMAAHC. “Kevin will bring an exciting mix of scholarship, technological savvy and bold vision that builds on the foundational work of the many people who built the museum. As a poet, he understands how the museum fulfilled the dreams of many Americans, and under his leadership the museum will shape the hopes of future generations,” Bunch said.
Young will begin leading NMAAHC on January 11, 2021.