Hunched over a cane, historian Charles Blockson, 82, made his way down a corridor that explores slavery in America. The actress and choreographer Debbie Allen was at his side. They share a common link. Allen has played Harriet Tubman on stage, and Blockson donated two of the museum’s greatest treasures: a shawl once owned by Tubman and her 19th-century hymnal. The hymnal bears Tubman’s name.
“There’s Harriet Tubman, straight ahead,” Allen said.” Doctor Blockson, do you want to take a picture with it?”
He saw the shawl, behind glass, exalted and preserved. He smiled for a picture.
“No flash,” a guard said.