On Sept. 24, President Barak Obama led a ceremony for the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. This Smithsonian museum is dedicated to chronicling the life of the African American from slavery to freedom. The museum features 13 exhibitions.
In his speech, President Obama said, “This national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are.” He then suggested that this national display of black history could help provide a contextual framework for America’s current dealings with the African American population as it relates to law enforcement. “Perhaps [this museum] can help a white visitor understand the pain and anger of demonstrators in places like Ferguson (Missouri) and Charlotte.” Obama said. “But it can also help black visitors appreciate the fact that not only is this younger generation carrying on traditions of the past, but within the white communities across the nation, we see the sincerity of law enforcement officers and officials who, in fits and starts, are struggling to understand and trying to do the right thing,” he said. President Obama continued, “It reminds us that routine discrimination and Jim Crow aren’t ancient history. It’s just a blink in the eye of history.”
The museum opening also featured musical performances by Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle and Denyce Graves. Actors, Robert De Niro and Angela Bassett, also appeared on program to read the words of black poets and historians.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is officially open to public visitors following Saturday’s ceremony. According to the website, the museum will keep its doors open for extended hours Mon. through Fri., Sept. 26 – 30, 10 a.m.– 7:30 p.m, Sat., Oct. 1, 10 a.m.– midnight, and Sun., October 2, 10 a.m.– 10 p.m.
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