Hendrix, who spoke proudly of his Cherokee grandmother, was one of many famous African Americans in the 1960s who cited family traditions linking them to Native ancestry.
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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian announces the return of “IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas,” a 20-panel banner exhibition opening July 4 on the museum’s fourth-level overlook. It uncovers and explores the history, culture and contemporary reality of people who share African American and Native American ancestry. A collaborative effort among the museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), the exhibition will complement “RACE: Are We So Different?,” a traveling exhibition currently at the National Museum of Natural History.
For centuries, African American and Native people have shared cultural traditions and practices, united in common struggle and forged relationships, families and unique ways of life throughout the Americas. But at times, racist policy and prejudice divided these communities and denied their shared heritage. Notable figures in U.S. history with dual African American and Native American ancestry include Crispus Attucks, Langston Hughes and Jimi Hendrix. By focusing on the dynamics of race, community, culture and creativity, “IndiVisible” examines an important and often overlooked aspect of American history.
Since its premiere on the National Mall in 2009, the exhibition has traveled to museums and cultural centers across the country, including the Chieftains Museum in Rome, Ga.; the Standing Bear Museum in Ponca City, Okla.; New Mexico State University Museum in Las Cruces, N.M.; the California African American Museum in Los Angeles; and the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Ala.
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