By Dominick Fils-Aime | September 23, 2016
Thousand are expected to descend upon the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Saturday in Washington DC. The newest Smithsonian Museum chronicles the pathology of the African American experience, focusing on the fight against slavery, efforts to end American apartheid and the many nuances related to the Civil Rights Movement. The building, which has been under construction since 2003 also honors the many African American contributions made within the realm of sports, art and culture.
On Friday, President Barack Obama commented on the museum, expressing feelings of optimism in the museum’s potential to facilitate enlightenment in light of current events.
“My hope is that as people are seeing what’s happening in Tulsa or Charlotte on television, and perhaps are less familiar with not only the history of the African-American experience but also how recent some of these challenges have been, upon visiting the museum may step back and say, ‘I understand. I sympathize. I empathize. I can see why folks might feel angry. And I want to be part of the solution, as opposed to resisting change,'” Obama said.
“My hope is that this complicated, difficult, sometimes harrowing but I believe ultimately triumphant story will help us talk to each other,” the first African American president continued. “And more importantly, listen to each other. And even more important, see each other. And recognize the common humanity that makes America what it is.”
The National Mall will feature a three day festival to celebrate the first museum exclusively showcasing the Black experience in America. Saturday’s opening will feature a star studded cast of speakers and performers including the likes of the President, First Lady Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush, Chief Justice John Roberts, Rep. John Lewis, a prominent member of the Civil Rights Movement, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle and Denyce Graves, Robert De Niro and Angela Bassett.