Ground Breaking For African American Museum - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Ground Breaking For African American Museum

USATODAY.COM - President Obama and former first lady Laura Bush joined Wednesday in celebrating the start of construction for the National Museum of African American History and Culture with groundbreaking ceremonies on the National Mall.

The $500 million museum, created by an act of Congress in 2003, will have the task of chronicling more than 200 years of black life in the United States.

It was first proposed by black Civil War veterans almost 100 years ago and took five special commissions and two acts of Congress later to make it a reality. Obama, the nation's first black president, was joined by first lady Michelle Obama and other dignitaries.

"This day has been a long time coming," the president said. "The time will come when few people will remember drinking from a colored water fountain or boarding a segregated bus … it will be a monument for all time, it will do more than simply keep those memories alive."

Obama said that "moments like this" made him think about his daughters, Sasha and Malia, "and what I want for them to take away."

"I want them to see how ordinary Americans can do extraordinary things … how men and women just like them have the courage to right a wrong," he said. "I want them to appreciate this museum not just as a record of tragedy but as a celebration of life."

Bush, who is a member of the advisory council for the new museum, said it "will pay tribute to the many lives known and unknown that so immeasurably enriched our nation.".

The new museum will include seven levels over more than 323,000 square feet and provide a sweeping history that confronts racial oppression and highlights the achievements of the famous and the everyday life of ordinary people. Its bronze and glass facade, known as the Corona, represents traditional African architecture.

For nine years, the museum's staff has worked to build the new Smithsonian museum from scratch, finding financial donors, scouring the nation for historical artifacts and planning the museum's exhibits.

"We are trying to humanize these big stories: slavery, migration, the civil rights movement," museum director Lonnie Bunch says. click here to read the full article

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