When it opens, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., will be the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, history and culture. (Photo by Alan Karchmer)
When peals ring out from a 130-year-old church bell at the Sept. 24 dedication ceremony for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, they will signal the end of a long journey. Read more from Tanya Ballard Brown for NPR.
The Guardian, Sept. 15, 2016
A helmet from the first world war Harlem Hellfighters on display at the new Smithsonian museum in Washington, which opens 24 September. Photograph: Preston Keres/AFP/Getty Images
Jesse Jackson walked through galleries chronicling African Americans’ enslavement, long struggle for freedom and achievements in culture, science, sport and politics. “I wish Dr King were here today,” the veteran civil rights activist said quietly. “Just for a moment.” Read more from David Smith for the Guardian.
Ebony, Sept. 16, 2016
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, April 13, 2016. (Photo by Alan Karchmer)
Jefferson Davis, a U.S. senator from Mississippi and subsequent president of the Confederate States of America, was a founding member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents in 1846. A self-proclaimed visionary who believed in the power of education to shape the fledgling American nation, Davis upheld the lofty aims of the Smithsonian, a network of museums and research centers that would form the federal core of the nation’s intellectual central nervous system.
He also upheld slavery while millions of Africans contributed physically and intellectually to build the nation. Between 1847 and 1855, the labor of enslaved Africans was used to quarry the red sandstone blocks that comprise the iconic Smithsonian castle. Read more from Greg Carr for Ebony.
The Washington Post, Sept. 21, 2016
National Museum of African American History and Culture, April 17, 2013. (Photo by Michael Barnes)
For more than 100 years, advocates have pushed for a museum to honor and explore the contributions of African Americans. They overcame geographic, economic and philosophical hurdles, fierce battles with Congress and multiple design challenges. Here are the some of the twists and turns in the long road from dream to reality. Read more from Wesley Yiin for the Washington Post
Washingtonian, Sept. 22, 2016
Professor of Architecture at Columbia University Mabel O. Wilson, author of “Begin With the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture.”
It’s not often you see books about museums published by a single author. For Mabel O. Wilson, Professor of Architecture at Columbia University and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Research in African American Studies; this is only one of the many reasons her new book, Begin with the Past stands out.
“It’s tricky to have a single author write a book that’s trying to cover so much,” says Wilson. You’ll often see books on museums where there are multiple authors and they just divide the topics up.” Because museum director Lonnie Bunch is a historian, Wilson says, “he believes telling the history of the building was a part of black history.” Read more of Sydney Mahan’s interview with Wilson for Washingonian.
ThinkProgress, Oct. 12, 2016
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, ring the Freedom Bell: First Baptist Church of Williamsburg, with members of the Bonner family at the dedication ceremony for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. Four generations of the family, descended from Elijah B. Odom, a young slave who escaped to freedom, rang a bell from First Baptist Church, founded in 1776 and one of the country’s oldest African-American houses of worship. CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
It is a tale of false starts, disingenuous efforts, gridlock, and also unexpected alliances.
A chuckle erupted across the crowd on the National Mall at the opening ceremonies for the National Museum of African American History and Culture on September 24, when former First Lady Laura Bush announced her husband, George W. Bush, signed the 2003 legislation authorizing the creation of a museum in the nation’s capital showcasing the experience of Black people in America. Read more from Cassie M. Chew for ThinkProgress.