A report by National Archives finds that the federal agency’s iconic Rotunda, where founding documents of the United States are on prominent display, is a symbol of “structural racism,” suggesting that the chamber should place “trigger warnings” to protect visitors from its contents.
The report (pdf) was released by the National Archives’ Task Force on Racism on April 20, but only recently gained media attention. The task force, established by Obama-appointed National Archivist David Ferriero in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and the ensuing nationwide unrest, concludes that an “overarching system of racial bias” is “unequivocally” affecting how the agency operates.
The report cites the Rotunda, which has been home to original copies of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights since 1952, as a leading example of the alleged “structural racism” within the National Archives. It describes the exhibition hall as a part of the headquarter building that “lauds wealthy white men in the nation’s founding while marginalizing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), women, and other communities.”
The task force specifically takes issue with the Rotunda’s famed murals depicting historical moments such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, saying that “women, American Indians, and enslaved people” are left out of those depictions of the American founding.- READ MORE
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