Words By: Kirra Martin
The monumental grand opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture commenced this weekend in Washington, D.C at the National Mall with live footage, courtesy of the White House.
The grand opening was followed by a Dedication Ceremony and a Freedom Sounds Festival, according to the museum’s site. The Saturday Dedication Ceremony was a star-studded event with appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith and performances by Stevie Wonder and Patti Labelle. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were in attendance as well.
President Barack Obama, the first African-American president, and the paramount speaker at the ceremony believes the museum tells the full story of America.
“James Baldwin once wrote, for while the tale of how we suffer and how we are delighted and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard,” President Obama said. “What makes this occasion so special is the larger story it contains…This national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are.”
In the conclusion of the president’s speech he noted, “We’re not a burden on America or [a] stain on America or an object of shame and pity for America. We are America.”
Founding Director of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture,
“A dream too long deferred is a dream no longer. What a grand and glorious day to open a museum that will not just tell of a people’s journey, but also of a nation’s story.”
Council member Linda Johnson-Rice who is also the daughter of the late publishing powerhouse mogul, John H. Johnson, stated
“I am overwhelmed by what is happening here on the avenues of history,”said council member Linda Johnson-Rice. “The strong, magnificent building and within it not just our stories of our struggles and our challenges, but of the decades, really the centuries, of African-American contributions from all walks of life.”
According to the museum’s website, the museum is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the history, culture and documentation of African-American human life.
The museum was established by Act of Congress in 2003. It has collected over 36,000 artifacts and has nearly 100,00 charter members.
For more information about the museum visit: https://nmaahc.si.edu/