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From Wakanda to Washington: Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther suit will go on display at the Smithsonian

“Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures” will be on display in the Bank of America Special Exhibitions Gallery from March 24, 2023, through March 2024.

WASHINGTON — From its historic box office success to sparking conversation all over social media, Black Panther is getting a special spot in the District. 

Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther Suit from the 2018 Marvel film will go on display in spring at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. 

The hero costume is a part of their 'major, thought-provoking' exhibition, "Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures," which will go on display on March 24, 2023. The museum acquired the iconic suit, alongside other pieces from the film, including a shooting script signed by Ryan Coogler.

Boseman starred as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel franchise. The Howard University graduate died at the age 43 from colon cancer in 2020. His death was on the day that Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson day. Two years prior to his death, Boseman delivered the commencement speech at his alma mater. In 2021, Howard University renamed its College of Fine Arts after the actor, and offers a scholarship in his name, which is funded by Netflix.

"Black Panther is the first superhero of African descent to appear in mainstream American comics, and the film itself is the first major cinematic production based on the character," the museum said in a statement.

The character of the Black Panther, king of the never-colonized Wakanda, made its debut in a July 1996 Marvel comic in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four #52, according to the University Libraries at the Washington University in St. Louis. The debut was the first black superhero in U.S. comic-book history. 

In 2016, Marvel launched a new Black Panther storyline asked to be written by National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates. In 2018, Ryan Coogler helped direct T'Challa's incredible tale to come to life.

The second, film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, premieres this week, with fans waiting to see who will take on the character's mantle.

"Black Panther illustrates the progression of blacks in film, an industry that in the past has overlooked Blacks, or regulated them to flat, one-dimensional and marginalized figures. The film, like the museum, provides a fuller story of Black culture and identity," NMAAHC said in a press release.  

Follow digital journalist Chioma-Emilia Ahaghotu on Twitter and Facebook. Send tips to cahaghotu@wusa9.com.

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