Colin Kaepernick Deserves His Place In History at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Colin Kaepernick kneels during national anthem protest with teammate.
Time Magazine

Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest may have cost him his job, but its cultural impact will be documented in history. 

Damion Thomas, sports curator for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, plans to feature items of Kaepernick’s as part of a growing Black Lives Matter collection, according to USA Today.

Items to be featured include a game-worn jersey, shoes and a picture, all donated by sociologist and civil rights activist Harry Edwards.

Kaepernick changed the conversation on race and police brutality when he decided to take a knee during the national anthem as a form of protest, a decision some say caused him to be blackballed in the NFL. 

Kaepernick is currently a free agent looking for a team. His contract with the San Francisco 49ers ended on March 9 and he chose to opt out.

Edwards goes as far to call Kaepernick “this generation’s Ali.” It’s been that long since a sports figure shook up America with his views on racial inequality.

Should he find a team before the season starts, sources told ESPN that Kaepernick plans to stand for the national anthem, not wanting to overshadow the change he has created with the controversial protest.

Nevertheless, Kaepernick continues to make an impact off the field. The Colin Kaepernick foundation pledged to give $1 million in addition to the proceeds of his 2016 jersey sales to charitable organizations that work in "oppressed communities." 

Kaepernick has been doling out the million in installments of $100K a month to organizations such as the Lower East Side Girls Club and 100 Suits For 100 Men, to name a few. To date, 900K has been donated.

Kaerpernick also funds a "Know Your Rights Camp," a campaign for youth that aims to "raise awareness on higher education, self-empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios" according to its website. Its 10 points include statements like "you have the right to be safe."

It will be another year or two before we see Kaepernick’s jersey displayed in the Smithsonian museum, but hopefully we’ll see him on the field soon--whether he’s standing or kneeling.

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