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Sweatshirt as history: what becomes of Trayvon Martin's hoodie?

Aug. 1, 2013 at 5:02 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Interested parties who include a Trayvon Martin Foundation board member are asking about the hoodie Martin wore when he was killed in Sanford, Fla.

The whereabouts and final disposition of that item of clothing has become a subject of interest among those who see it as an iconic symbol of the civil rights movement in America.

The hooded sweatshirt worn by Martin, 17, the night he was shot and killed by now-acquitted George Zimmerman in February 2012 is in the hands of the U.S. Department of Justice while it conducts a civil rights violation investigation into the incident, The Washington Post reported Thursday, adding it will eventually be returned to Martin's family.

The evidence, including the bag of Skittles candy and the empty can of ice tea Martin carried, were packaged by Sanford police and sent to the Justice Department office in Orlando last week, the newspaper said.

The sweatshirt was last seen publicly during Zimmerman's trial, framed and matted as a display item.

"I get goosebumps just thinking about it," said Michael Skolnik, political director for hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and who attended the trial as board member of the Trayvon Martin Foundation. "It's like this mythical garment."

The newspaper commented it could become a museum piece, an auction item or could disappear forever, noting other items in the popular culture of modern crime, after use in court rooms, have been displayed, or at least acknowledged as worthy of safekeeping.

It said the Montana cabin of "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski and the suit O.J. Simpson wore at his acquittal were acquired by the Newseum, a journalism museum in Washington. The knife Lorena Bobbitt used to emasculate her husband in 1993 was ordered destroyed by a Prince William County, Va., court in 2004 after she made it clear she did not want it.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said he would like to see Martin's hoodie reside at Washington's National Museum of African American History and Culture, now under construction.

Museum director Lonnie Bunch said the hoodie "became the symbolic way to talk [about] the Travyon Martin case. It's rare that you get one artifact that really becomes the symbol."

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