SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS EXPERTS
Johnnetta Betsch Cole
Johnnetta Betsch Cole is the Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art. A lifelong passion for art and a love and respect for the people and cultures of Africa and its diaspora led Johnnetta from the halls of the academy to the Smithsonian. She received a Ph.D. in anthropology with a specialization in African Studies from Northwestern University and later served as the president of both of the historically Black colleges for women in the United States, Spelman College and Bennett College for Women, a distinction she alone holds. Johnnetta was the first African American to serve as the chair of the board of United Way of America and the first woman to serve on the board of Coca-Cola Enterprises. She has received 56 honorary degrees.