The International Civil Rights Center and Museum has put out a YouTube video that addresses the major topic in the air right now – “Protesting in 2020.”
In the video, Carmesha Blackmon, a junior at Bennett College, interviews La’Tonya Wiley, the museum’s “senior interpreter” who offers her account and insights on the recent protests in downtown Greensboro, where the historic museum is located.
A senior interpreter is someone who studies, in great detail, the story a museum tells in order to share it with the people who visit that museum. Wiley has been doing that for the downtown civil rights museum for six years, and, in the 18-minute video, she has a lot to say about protests, those in the past and those going on in Greensboro right now.
In the interview, Wiley explores non-violent protesting as well as the importance of preparation and strategy for protests – something that’s been lacking in many of the demonstrations taking place around the country this week.
She also discusses the historic roots of protests and she connects what’s happening now to the central themes of the Sit-In Movement of the 1960’s that the museum recounts.
In the recent civil rights protests after George Floyd’s death, the downtown Greensboro museum, ironically, became a target. Protestors damaged the glass front of the museum.
In the YouTube interview, Wiley spends some time discussing what she saw at the downtown Greensboro protests. She said she noticed distinct sets of protesters – some who were “very clear” in what they were hoping to accomplish. But there were others, she added, who weren’t clear at all.
“There were some who – I don’t know what their agenda was – but it wasn’t the same,” she said. “It wasn’t a shared agenda.”
In the video, Wiley talks about successful past protests for civil rights, such as those led by Martin Luther King Jr. In many cases, she said, all the protesters were on the same page and everyone’s role was clear. She also discusses the way protesters in the past have practiced “self-policing.”
The interesting and informative video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvM6Gqj5Uro&feature=youtu.be