The Mogul Who Buys Black-History Treasures

David Rubenstein tells The Root why he purchased two renowned documents steeped in black history.

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TR: Given their special historical significance to African Americans, will you ever consider making special plans for their display that would target the black community?

DR: Yes. I expect the permanent home of the 13th Amendment will be in a museum that will appeal to African Americans and all people interested in the history of civil rights in our country.

TR: Why should documents like these -- truly national treasures -- ever be in private hands?

DR: I don't have a strong view either way, but they do have to be paid for somehow, and I happened to be able to buy them and make them publicly available. I am also a big supporter and regent of the Smithsonian Institution, where I am on the board, and other essentially public entities such as the Kennedy Center.

TR: Where will the two documents be headed to next? Do you ever plan to display them internationally -- as a way of sharing the history of American civil rights and democracy with the world?

DR: My goal is to make them relevant today. To that end, I am considering ways that will enhance their connection to anyone -- everywhere -- who might be interested in seeing and reading them.

Edward Wyckoff Williams is an author, a columnist, a political analyst for MSNBC and a former investment banker. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Edward Wyckoff Williams is a contributing editor at The Root. He is a columnist and political analyst, appearing on Al-Jazeera, MSNBC, ABC, CBS Washington and national syndicated radio. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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