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Tonight’s Jazzy Holiday Gala is sold out, and for good reason. The event honors Lonnie Bunch III, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum is slated to open next year.

In a telephone interview, Bunch shared his thoughts on the importance of preserving African-American history. Answers have been edited for clarity.

Are you familiar with the Gantt Center?

I have respect for the Gantt Center, for Harvey (Gantt). There’s been a lot of really good work that is being done in Charlotte that explores issues of urbanization and race.

How do you feel about the honor?

It’s very exciting. I’m flattered that people are basically recognizes how important the creation of the national museum is.  I’m standing on the shoulders of many institutions and many individuals.

Why are museums like the Gantt Center important to smaller communities like Charlotte?

Cultural centers, regional museums, places like the Gantt Center celebrate regional culture and bring more knowledge. They really are the foundation that builds national museums.

Gantt Center Honors Director of African American History and Culture Museum Tonight  was originally published on

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