Friday, September 23, 2016

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African
American History and Culture
After 101 years of effort, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will open this Saturday (September 24, 2016).  In 1915, a group of African American veterans of the Civil War proposed a museum and memorial in Washington. Efforts to establish the museum floundered over the years stalled by the depression. Congress refused to support ideas during the 1960s and 1970s. Finally, in 2003, President George W. Bush appointed a commission to study the museum. The study, appropriately titled "The Time Has Come," resulted in Congress passing a law that authorized the museum.

"If you're interested in American notions of freedom, then regardless of who you are, this is your story too." --- Lonnie G. Bunch III 

Slave Manacles
A visit to the museum begins with the "Slavery and Freedom" gallery. The exhibit "is designed to attack the senses and draw out emotion: The ceilings are low, the rooms are dark and oppressive, and the walls are covered with quotes from the slaves and the enslaved, whose voices have been reproduced and are broadcast through the exhibits." The exhibit presents items that bring slavery to life: slave manacles used on a child, a slave auction block, a whip used to punish slaves, and ballast blocks and pulley from a Portuguese slave ship.

Please visit the museum web site to learn more.


  1. "Up Close and Personal with a painful past," The Dallas Morning News, September 23, 2016, 3A.
  2. "Black in America," Smithsonian, September 2016.
  3. National Museum of African American History and Culture
  4. Collection Search on Slavery
  5. Collection Search on Military

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