WASHINGTON: Centuries of struggles and strife, decades of planning and pain, and years of hoping for a place that African-American history can call home will culminate as President Barack Obama officially opens the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Obama tweeted from his presidential Twitter account on Saturday morning that he was “Proud to help open @NMAAHC with so many heroes. African American history is a central part of our glorious American history.” Before formally opening the museum, Obama will ring the Freedom Bell, acquired in 1886 by the historic First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, believed to be among the first Baptist churches organised entirely by African-Americans for African-Americans. It will be returned to the church for its 240th anniversary later this year.
A shining bronze beacon on the National Mall, only steps away from a monument dedicated to a slaveholder president, the new Smithsonian chronicles the complex relationship between the United States and a people it once enslaved, and tell the story of those who worked to make the necessary changes to bring the country to where it is today.
Thousands gathered on the National Mall on Saturday morning to watch Obama, the nation’s first black president, cut the ribbon to open the museum. People are flying in from around the country to be some of the first people inside, if they were lucky enough to get the much-coveted opening day tickets.