Entrance to the Smithsonian Institute Castle, Washington DC, USA
The hooded sweatshirt Trayvon Martin wore the night George Zimmerman
shot him to death could end up on display at the Smithsonian
The shirt became a powerful symbol of the case after
Zimmerman described Martin as wearing a "hoodie" the night he killed
the teen, claiming self-defense. Protestors across the country wore
hoodies in support of Martin as they called for Zimmerman's arrest,
prosecution and conviction.
A Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman
last month, finding too little evidence to convict him of second-degree
murder or manslaughter.
Prosecutors had introduced the famed
hoodie into evidence during the trial. A hush fell over the Seminole
County courtroom as they displayed it for the court.
weighing Zimmerman's guilt were still and attentive while looking at the
sweatshirt, according to reports from the day. One juror lifted out of
her seat to get a better look at the hoodie, and the group tracked the
sweatshirt as Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, moved it away from the
The hoodie is now stored with other evidence from the
case at the U.S. Department of Justice, which has opened an
investigation into whether Zimmerman violated Martin's civil rights.
But the power and symbolism of the hoodie could be available for legions of visitors to an iconic Washington, D.C., museum.
director of a new branch of the Smithsonian, the National Museum of
African American History and Culture, told the Washington Post he would
like the museum to acquire the piece of history for its permanent
"It became the symbolic way to talk about the Trayvon
Martin case," Lonnie Bunch told the Post. "It's rare that you get one
artifact that really becomes the symbol.
"Because it's such a symbol, it would allow you to talk about race in the age of Obama."
Neither Bunch nor the museum returned calls from ABC News for comments.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is set to open in 2015 in Washington.