Last week, I ran through all the competition lately for the warped oval that butt-ends 10th Street SW, commonly known as Banneker Park. In response to that column (which will remain in place for another week, as I work on two projects for next issue) I received a polite note from Sam Eskenazi, the director of the Coalition for the National Museum of the American People, who also expressed a strong desire that his proposed museum occupy the bereft but sought-after spot. His idea: Put a lid over I-395 for a new “world-class” building, which might also leave room in a sculpture garden for a memorial to Benjamin Banneker.
What’s the National Museum for the American People, you ask? Why, it’s a museum not just for Native Americans, black people, Latinos, or Armenians—it’s for everybody, from the Scots to the Greeks to the Sikhs. Eskenazi has pulled together 114 ethnic organizations that would like a corner in such an institution. They’ve even gotten upstate New York congressman Maurice Hinchey to sponsor legislation—which hasn’t yet made it out of committee—that would create a commission to study the possibility of creating a museum where everyone’s welcome.
Hope he’s in for a long haul.