NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon and the e-commerce giant eBay are pushing back against criticism that the Black History Museum in Brooklyn is a “cult” that should be closed, arguing that the museum’s mission is important to history and should not be restricted by the religious views of some people.
Amazon and eBay have been battling over how best to make Black History available to its customers.
The museum’s website features a short video, and it’s unclear whether the museum will have to provide visitors with a list of specific historical figures to access their data.
Amazon and other online retailers argue that this information should be made available to everyone, regardless of religious affiliation.
The debate has been raging for a year and a half, and eBay, which has been criticized for blocking a website for a local church that hosts a memorial service for victims of the 9/11 attacks, has defended the museum in interviews.
The two sides have clashed publicly before.
In a statement to The Associated Press, eBay said that it “does not endorse any specific religion or belief, nor is it a religious organization, but that it believes in the importance of the Black experience and Black history and believes that all Black people deserve equal access to it.”
The museum is a nonprofit group that sells books and artifacts on topics such as the civil rights movement, slavery and the Holocaust.
Its website features links to its research, and some visitors can access the information by using the site’s search engine.
The group says its mission is “to educate and inspire generations to embrace a greater understanding of the richness and diversity of our world,” but it has faced criticism for not including a list on its website of specific Black historical figures.
Critics of the museum say it’s missing important information about slavery, the Holocaust and the effects of colonialism, saying that a list like that would help people understand the history of the institution.
Amazon said it had made “several changes” to the site to address the criticism, including adding a list to its search engine for the names of the people who served in the U.S. military, which the museum did not include.