It is the symbol of a movement to obtain justice for all young black men killed unnecessarily. It is the item synonymous with inequality, death, sadness…and even hope that one day we will reach the mountaintop.
And as GlobalGrind’s EIC and Russell Simmons’ political advisor Michael Skolnik put it, the dark gray hoodie worn by Trayvon Martin when he was shot dead by George Zimmerman is “like this mythical garment.” It will go down in history.
So when a museum director at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. expressed interest in acquiring the piece of clothing, it made sense. Trayvon’s hoodie is now a piece of American history.
According to The Washington Post:
Trayvon Martin’s hoodie – the sweatshirt he was wearing the night he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla. – “became the symbolic way to talk [about] the Trayvon Martin case,” said Lonnie Bunch, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The item, now in the hands of the Sanford Police Department, will be given to the Martin/Fulton family for them to claim. It is unclear if they will release the garment to a museum of their choice.
But while interest at the African American History and Culture museum is brewing, others in the art world don’t think the hoodie will be a prized item for exhibits.
Wall Street Journal art reporter Kelly Crow told CBS News that, despite the intrigue, it is unlikely that museums will be clamoring over the hoodie, due to the sensitivities surrounding the case. “I think the art world probably wouldn’t be lining up to display this tomorrow because it could be seen as a little exploitative,” Crow said.
But if put on display at the African American History Museum, it will join other black historical items like the handcuffs used on Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Harriet Tubman’s artifacts and others that date back to slavery.
And items like Trayvon’s hoodie, now matter how exploitive Crow says they seem, are of high interest as museums scramble to chronicle the human experience. The Law Enforcement Memorial Fund is building a museum in Washington that will eventually house the car, sniper rifle and other items used by Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, the snipers who terrorized the D.C. area in a three-week, 2002 killing spree.
Wherever it ends up, Trayvon’s hoodie is sure to do one thing in the decades to come – keep the discussion about race relations in America alive.
Do you think the garment Trayvon Martin was killed in should be displayed in a museum?