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Samir Meghelli, Ph.D.

Senior Curator, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

Dr. Samir Meghelli is a historian, writer, educator, and serves as Senior Curator at the Smithsonian Institution's Anacostia Community Museum. He is also a Visiting Scholar-in-Residence at American University’s Metropolitan Policy Center in the School of Public Affairs. He received his B.A. (magna cum laude) from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. Prior to joining the Smithsonian Institution, he was a professor of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University and the Paris Institute of Political Studies (also known as "Sciences Po," located in Paris, France).

Dr. Meghelli's research and curatorial work have focused on U.S. social movements, African American history, urban history, and cultural history. He has curated and consulted for museum exhibitions; executive produced, researched, and consulted for documentary films and web series; and has directed public history projects in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, DC. His recent exhibitions include: A Right to the City (on view 2018-2020) which explored the history and contemporary dynamics of neighborhood change and community organizing in Washington, DC (with a still-available online exhibit:, Food for the People: Eating and Activism in Greater Washington (on view 2021-2022), which received the 2020-2021 Smithsonian Award for Excellence in Exhibitions, and A Bold and Beautiful Vision: A Century of Black Arts Education in Washington, DC, 1900-2000 (on view 2024-2025).

Dr. Meghelli is the co-author of The Global Cipha: Hip Hop Culture and Consciousness (2006) (with James G. Spady and H. Samy Alim), co-editor of New Perspectives on the History of Marcus Garvey, the U.N.I.A., and the African Diaspora (2011), and his work has appeared in various books, newspapers, and scholarly journals, including The New York Times, The Philadelphia Tribune, The Washington Informer, Black Arts Quarterly, The Western Journal of Black Studies, and Modern American History, among others.

His research and curatorial work have received support from the Mellon Foundation, the National Park Service, the Social Science Research Council, the Terra Foundation for American Art, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Events DC (the official convention and sports authority for Washington, DC), and the Smithsonian Women's Committee. He has been invited to speak at museums and universities around the United States and Europe, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia University, University College London, University of California-Berkeley, Vanderbilt University, the American University of Paris, UCLA, Georgetown University, the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, University of Michigan, the Corning Museum of Glass, and Stanford University, among others. And he has also presented his research at the Annual Meetings of the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, American Studies Association, American Association of Geographers, and American Comparative Literature Association.

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