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Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Names Former Kansan

Image: Smithsonian/Melanie Dunea

Former Kansan Kevin Young has been named director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The Reflector reports that Young is best known as a poet, author, and editor.

He’s published 11 books of poetry, two works of nonfiction, and served as editor of 10 other works.

He will start in January at the museum in Washington, D.C.

Since 2016, he’s been poetry editor at The New Yorker magazine, and is expected to retain that post.

Young, 49, said he was eager to be part of the museum’s powerful influence on visitors, and to reveal the central role of African American culture in the nation’s experience.

He was born in Nebraska, but his family lived in six different places before he reached the age of 10.

His family settled in Topeka, where he began to pursue writing at age 13 following a summer writing class at Washburn University.

He earned degrees at Harvard and Brown universities, and held a two-year fellowship at Stanford University.

He taught at Emory University for 11 years.


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