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Desegregating the Past – The Public Life of Memory in the United States and South Africa - Columbia Scholarship Online
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Desegregating the Past: The Public Life of Memory in the United States and South Africa

Robyn Autry


At the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa, visitors confront the past upon arrival. They must decide whether to enter the museum through a door marked "whites" or another marked "non-whites." Inside, along with text, they encounter hanging nooses and other reminders of apartheid-era atrocities. In the United States, museum exhibitions about racial violence and segregation are mostly confined to black history museums, with national history museums sidelining such difficult material. Even the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is dedicated not to vi ... More

Keywords: Collective memory, museums, racial identity, nationalism, representation, memorialization, commemoration, apartheid, segregation, anti-apartheid

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780231177580
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231177580.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Robyn Autry, author
Wesleyan University