Michelle Commander takes command

Michelle Commander has been named deputy director of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and Culture, which is based in Washington, D.C.

Commander joined the museum after working as the deputy director of research and strategic initiatives at The New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

She has written several books, including Afro-Atlantic Fight: Speculative Return and the Black Fantastic.

The book traces how post-civil rights Black American artists, intellectuals, and travelers envision literal and figurative flight back to Africa as a means by which to heal the dispossession caused by the slave trade.

Commander earned a Master’s degree and a doctorate in American studies and ethnicity from the University of Southern California.

Through its digital presence, the museum has welcomed 8.5 million in-person visitors. The museum opened on September 24, 2016.