Jacqueline Trescott of the Washington Post is reporting that the National Museum of African American History and Culture has decided to collect items from Soul Train, the “hippest trip in America.” For 37 years and more than 1,000 episodes, Soul Train spotlighted in its signature dance line the latest dance moves born in African-American communities. And the dancing didn’t stop as the musical headliners of the time performed.
The five donations include the 10-foot-long neon “Train” sign, which was used from 1993 to 2006, and neon signs from the program’s music awards show, used in 2006 and 2007.
The acquisitions will be formally announced on June 30 at a special panel discussion and dance party, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year’s festival will focus on the culture of Colombia, the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps and R&B music.
The Soul Train events on the National Mall include Kenard Gibbs, the CEO of Soul Train Holdings; Tony Cornelius, the son of Don Cornelius; Nicholas Puzo, a disc jockey and founder of SoulTrainFans; and Questlove, a disc jockey and drummer for the Roots. Tuliza Fleming, the museum curator who initiated the acquisition, will moderate the panel. Tyrone Proctor, one of the original Soul Train dancers, will demonstrate some dance moves and host the party with the Root’s Questlove deejaying.
We’re glad the Smithsonian is funking up the collection a bit with items from pop-cultural gems like Soul Train. The festival sounds like great fun, so we’ll definitely be making a “hip trip” to the National Mall. In our best Don Cornelius voice, we wish them love, peace and soul.
In other news: Kwame Kilpatrick to Be Released From Prison.