A director at the Smithsonian Institution has expressed interest in acquiring the hooded sweatshirt worn by Travyon Martin on the night he was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture told The Washington Post Martin's hoodie represents an to further the discussion about race in America.
“It became the symbolic way to talk the Trayvon Martin case. It’s rare that you get one artifact that really becomes the symbol,” Bunch told the newspaper. “Because it’s such a symbol, it would allow you to talk about race in the age of Obama.”
Bunch, who has acquired a guard tower from Louisiana’s Angola State Penitentiary and the handcuffs used to restrain Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in 2009, said he'd like to have the hoodie for his collection once the legal case is over.
The Justice Department had placed a hold on evidence in the case, including Zimmerman's gun, as it conducts a civil rights investigation.
Zimmerman's acquittal on July 13 prompted rallies nationwide calling for a civil rights probe and federal charges against him.
Last year's shooting of Martin, an unarmed black teen, initiated a national dialogue about equal justice, racial profiling, gun control and self-defense laws.
Protesters nationwide lashed out against police in Sanford, Fla., as it took 44 days for Zimmerman to be arrested. Many, including Martin's parents, said Zimmerman had racially profiled the 17-year-old. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.