National Museum of African American History and Culture opens Sept. 24 -- Magnificent, awful, profound: The stories the new African American museum will tell

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    Sep 17, 2016 3:14 AM GMT
    Robert L. Wilkins, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, served on the presidential commission created by Congress to plan the National Museum of African American History and Culture. His book on the creation of the museum, “Long Road to Hard Truth,” was released this month.

    Lewis Fraction never imagined that his death would help inspire work toward a museum on the Mall.

    “Brother” Fraction and I were mentors in a church youth program when he died 20 years ago, just shy of his 60th birthday, leaving behind a wife and four grown children. While at his home to comfort his family and remember his life, I was struck by the stories told by the elders gathered there.

    Stories about the myriad joys of youth — the courtship rituals, old dance steps, swooning over Sam Cooke. Stories about all-black, one-room, ramshackle schoolhouses and the nurturing but stern teachers who presided over them. Some described never seeing a whole piece of chalk or a new textbook — just broken bits and beaten-up books handed down from white schools. There were stories about countless indignities, major and minor, and the psychological wounds they inflicted.

    Magnificent stories. Awful stories. Profound stories....

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    Sep 17, 2016 3:16 AM GMT
    A People’s Journey
    A Nation’s Story

    Welcome to the Smithsonian
    National Museum of African American History & Culture
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    Sep 17, 2016 3:21 AM GMT


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    Sep 17, 2016 3:26 AM GMT by and large are impressed with the massive amount of information and artifacts contained in the $540 million, 400,000-square-foot museum on the National Mall. But, as critics do, they take issue with how it is displayed...

    the museum is “dense and teeming with information, but at times overwhelming.”

    “… like most well-funded museums that aim at a popular audience today, [NMAAHC] is so dependent on multimedia that it can’t help but slight history before the age of film and recorded sound,” he writes. “The information is all there, but it is largely present through prints, documents and small objects that lack the visual punch of those from latter eras.”

    He recommends patrons read a book before visiting, “to bring order to this frenetic, eager and diffuse museum.”...
  • roadbikeRob

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    Sep 17, 2016 1:48 PM GMT
    Where is this new museum located?
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    Sep 17, 2016 8:54 PM GMT
    I think it's somewhere in Alabama. The Alabama National Mall. You know, the one with the Washington Monument.
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    Sep 19, 2016 8:37 PM GMT
    I wonder in Africa builds American- Africans museums.
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    Sep 24, 2016 9:19 PM GMT New African-American museum 'belongs to all'

    WASHINGTON — America has a new front porch.

    The entryway to the National Museum of African American History and Culture — inspired by those iconic covered verandas of Southern and African architecture — hosted presidents and poets Saturday, opening day for the museum that explores one of the most complicated parts of American history.

    “The story that is told here doesn’t just belong to black Americans, it belongs to all Americans,” President Obama said from the covered doorway.

    The 400,000-square-foot museum displays more than 3,000 artifacts, such as the dress Rosa Parks was sewing before she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955; a bill of sale for a 16-year-old girl named Polly, who was transferred between owners in 1835 for $600; and shackles used to restrain slaves in the holds of ships on the Middle Passage between Africa and North America.

    Obama, the last speaker at the two-hour ceremony, focused on one artifact in particular: a slave auction block with an engraving about how Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay spoke from it in 1880. In a history written by slave owners, the engraving makes no mention of what else happened on that stone, “where day after day for years, men and women were torn from their spouse or their child, shackled and bound and bought and sold and bid like cattle,” Obama said.

    “Consider what this artifact tells us about history, about how it’s told, about what can be cast aside,” Obama said.

    "As Americans, we rightfully passed on the tales of the giants who built this country; who led armies into battle and waged seminal debates in the halls of Congress and the corridors of power," he said. "But too often, we ignored or forgot the stories of millions upon millions of others, who built this nation just as surely, whose humble eloquence, whose calloused hands, whose steady drive helped to create cities, erect industries, build the arsenals of democracy."