Skip to main content

Smithsonian’s First Black Leader Will Have Childhood Belleville Street Named in His Honor




By: Yuritza Arroyo

 Lonnie G. Bunch III blazed a trail from his family’s home at 125 Beech Street in Belleville to the Smithsonian, where he was selected as the institution’s first Black leader in 2019.

According to officials, the Township will honor Bunch and his lifetime of achievement by renaming the very street he grew up on in his honor.

Bunch will join Belleville officials and township residents for a street-naming ceremony on Monday, March 20, at noon at the intersection of Beech and Greylock streets.

Members of the media are invited to cover this special event, which will include comments from Bunch as well as Belleville Mayor Michael Melham.

Before becoming the 16th secretary of the world's largest museum, education, and research complex, Bunch was the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian’s 19th museum. 

The son of Lonnie (a science and chemistry public school teacher) and Montrose (a third-grade public school teacher), it was during his youth in Belleville that Bunch developed a love of history and fostered a sense that African Americans deserve “a voice.”