Lonnie Bunch, the director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, has expressing interest in procuring the hoodie worn by 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, when he was profiled, followed and ultimately shot through the heart by killer George Zimmerman, reports the Washington Post.
“It became the symbolic way to talk the Trayvon Martin case. It’s rare that you get one artifact that really becomes the symbol,” Bunch said. “Because it’s such a symbol, it would allow you to talk about race in the age of Obama.”
MSNBC’s PoliticsNation host Rev. Al Sharpton, who is largely responsible for catapulting the case to national prominence, said that he “would like to see it preserved” because it is the “first civil rights flash point” of the 21st century.
“The hoodie now represents an image of an urban street kid that either embraces or engages in street thug life,” he said. “I think it’s unfair.”
See 7-11 footage of Trayvon in a black hoodie minutes before he was gunned down by George Zimmerman below:
Trayvon Martin has become this generation’s Till, and though his life was snatched away from him, his legacy has also been immortalized.
According to the Post, Sharpton imagined how powerful it would have been to save a garment worn by 14-year-old Emmett Till the night that he was murdered for allegedly whistling at a White woman in 1950s Mississippi.
In addition to expressing interest in Trayvon’s hoodie, Bunch has acquired a guard tower from Louisiana’s infamous Angola State Penitentiary, and handcuffs used to restrain Harvard professor Louis Gates Jr, who, as previously reported by NewsOne, was profiled and arrested after White neighbors assumed that he was breaking into his own home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is currently under construction on the National Mall in Washington D.C. and is scheduled to open in 2015.