Regular readers of this blog know that I have been following the creation of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture with keen interest. Today another milestone was reached when the groundbreaking was held in Washington. I am not a believer in ethnic museums because I believe they compartmentalize history and culture in a way I find inappropriate. The African American Museum is the exception to the rule, however. Museum officials have a vision that they seem to be carrying out with great planning and foresight. This is going to be a real addition to the Mall. The museum is also doing an excellent job building its collections. Just the other day a Virginia family donated Nat Turner’s Bible to the new museum.
I have no idea what museum adminsistrators are planning for the opening in 2015, but my hope is that they will tie it in with the ending of the Civil War sesquicentennial. I cannot think of a better “closing ceremony” for our remembrance of the war, though the museum of course will cover the entirety of the African American experience in all its human complexity.
Here are President Obama’s remarks from this morning.