“In my work, I’ve always been concerned with the intersections between personal and public history, our national collective memory with its omissions and erasures—willed forgetting, a kind of cultural amnesia—and the enduring need for justice for all. The pursuit of justice involves telling a fuller version of our shared history, reckoning with the past and its impact on our contemporary moment.”
About the Artist
Natasha Trethewey, a member of the Academy and Co-chair of the Commission on the Arts, is a poet, author, and Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winner who served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014), while also serving as the Poet Laureate of the State of Mississippi (2012-2016).
“Quotidian” by Natasha Trethewey, from “The 1619 Project” published in The New York Times Magazine (Joint copyright © 2019 by The New York Times Company and Natasha Trethewey) and published in the book “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” (Copyright © 2021 by The New York Times Company). Used with the permission of The New York Times Company.
Commission on the Arts
The Commission - drawing on the expertise of its members who are artists, scholars, activists, and leaders, as well as the input of people across the country who participated in listening sessions - dedicated itself to recognizing and supporting the essential role of the arts and artists in American life.