Saturday, September 24, marked the end of the 100 years wait for the establishment of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The grand opening of the long-awaited museum to showcase the African-American history and culture, at last, came to pass on the 24th of September in Washington D.C. The event was in high attendance with some very important personalities also present. Some known and familiar faces were seen both in the crowd and among those who spoke at the event.
The historic opening of the magnificent building attracted people from all walks of life; the old and young were also not left out.
National Museum of African American History and Culture – TODAY, 09/24/16
— JDH (@jdhNaturalista) September 25, 2016
The president of the United States and his wife graced the occasion. In the president’s speech, he touched on the importance of such a building to the American people as a whole. He said, “We’re not a burden on America or a stain on America or an object of shame and pity for America. We are America. And that’s what this museum explains. Hopefully, this museum makes us talk to each other and listen to each other and see each other.”
Another key personality, to whom to him was actually like a dream come true, was Rep. John Lewis. He was one of the pioneers who spearheaded the call to establish the museum.
— Smithsonian NMAAHC (@NMAAHC) September 24, 2016
The birth of the idea to construct the museum was in 1912 by a group of Black Civil War veterans, the Huffington reports. After several attempts and failing by then, Lewis took it upon himself to push for the establishment of the edifice after he was sworn into Congress in 1987. He forwarded a bill to put together funds for the building annually for 15 years until President Bush approved it in 2003.
The total cost of the museum is estimated at $540 million. While half of the money was footed by the government, the other half came from some charitable foundations like the Oprah Winfrey Foundation and some individual donors.
The grand open of the magnificent edifice was thrilled by some performances by some globally known musicians such as Stevie Wonder who gave a brief but powerful speech before exhilarating the crowd with his new song. He said, “This cannot go on, all of it, any of it. All the back and forth, the hatred, trying to divide us a united people.” He further added that “History has shown us that we can rise. As you visit the story of a people, a country, a spirit, remember our strength. Remember our courage. Know that we must come together. We must come together.”
Some known faces such as Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, and John Legend among several others were at the event.
Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith hold “poetry battle” at dedication of Nat’l Museum of African American History and Culture https://t.co/kvClqdIYHa
— ABC News (@ABC) September 24, 2016
The things on display at the museum could make one reflect on the past and consider the future. Among some of the historic things was a draft of the Declaration of Independence behind slave shackles, Powderhorn used by Pvt. Prince Simbo during the Revolutionary War, Charleston “slave badge” among other interesting historic findings.
The opening of this museum is just timely for the people of America. It will give visitors first-hand information about the struggle and contribution of the Black-Americans to the nation. They will appreciate the Black history and further understand the Black culture. We are indeed proud of our history and really pleased that this dream is finally a reality.