National Af-Am Museum Never Wanted to Preserve Cudell Gazebo, Curator Was Writing on Behalf of Black Lives Matter

click to enlarge SAM ALLARD / SCENE
Sam Allard / Scene
Though Senior Curator William Pretzer has not responded to multiple requests for comment, a spokeswoman for the Smithsonian said that the National Museum of African American History and Culture has no interest in preserving the Cudell gazebo where Tamir Rice was shot. 

''We are not looking at that as something that we want to preserve," LaFleur Paysour told Cleveland.com's Robert Higgs.

Dr. Pretzer sent an email to Cleveland's law department on Monday, asking that the demolition of the gazebo be delayed to allow further discussion about preservation options.  

Pretzer, in his short letter, said that he was writing "on behalf of" the NMAAHC, but Paysour said the letter was misleading. The only role the museum is taking in preservation efforts is helping Black Lives Matter, which has interest in preserving the structure where Tamir Rice was shot and killed in November, 2014. Paysour said the museum, which is scheduled to open in Washington D.C. later this year, is not seeking additional material for its 12 exhibits.

Black Lives Matter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on their preservation plans.

City spokesman Dan Williams told Scene Thursday that the only correspondence the city has received was Dr. Pretzer's. Williams said the Smithsonian had reached out, expressing interest in discussing preservation. The city told the museum that they'd need something in writing to confirm the seriousness of their interest. The city received Mr. Pretzer's letter and agreed to delay the gazebo dis-assembly by 30 days, but the city is not privy to discussions between the NMAAHC and Black Lives Matter. 

About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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