The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture opens today in Washington DC.
“Speaking on Friday, Mr Obama said the new museum would educate Americans about the history of the racial tensions seen during protests over police killings of black men.
“As a people, we’ve rightfully passed on the tales of the giants who built this country,” Mr Obama said during his weekly address to the American people.
“But too often, wilful or not, we’ve chosen to gloss over or ignore entirely the experience of millions upon millions of others.” He added: “And so it is entirely fitting that we tell this story on our National Mall, the same place we tell the stories of [President George] Washington and [President Thomas] Jefferson and our independence.”
The bronze-coloured museum, designed by British architect David Adjaye, is located on Washington’s National Mall – not far from the White House.
It contains 36,000 items, ranging from trade goods used to buy slaves in Africa to a segregated railway car from the 1920s and a red Cadillac convertible belonging to rock’n’roll pioneer Chuck Berry.
Black veterans of the US Civil War first proposed an African-American museum in 1915.
However, it was not until 2003 that Congress approved its creation. Construction of the 37,200 sq m building took almost four years.”