tv National Museum of African American History and Culture Grand Opening CSPAN September 24, 2016 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
in both houses of our congress. together, and only together, we can write this wrong by making our union more perfect. become the, when we 51st state. [applause] >> please, enjoy my hometown. embrace the richness of our neighborhood, from historic anacostia where frederick douglass made his home to you u street. come back often to visit this national museum of african american history and culture. celebrate hell far we have come together. to bless you,ue the district of columbia and the united states of america. thank you. [applause]
on c-span3 live at the national museum of african american history and culture opening day. we are showing you live scenes from the national mall. gathering that are out there and lining up, you had to have a ticket to attend today but you can see the opening ceremonies all day long. for the next few minutes we will look at what is going on out there. if you were on the national mall you could see what is going on in the enclosed areas on the jumbotron on the washington monument grounds. theou would like to join conversation, we welcome you to facebook and twitter. cspanhistory. thisu miss any of ceremony, you can rewatch it at 4:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and midnight. there will be a full schedule on
[crowd chatter] >> you are watching american history tv on c-span3. we are watching a live shot of while we awaitll the opening ceremony of the national museum of african .merican history and culture we did here earlier from the mayor of washington, d.c., people have come from all over the country and there are also a lot of washington dignitaries. [applause] ♪
>> at kaiser permanente, we are committed to shaping the future of health. we believe that anyone should have the ability to be healthy to pursue life, liberty and happiness. we are proud to be the founding member of the smithsonian national museum of african american history and culture. the museum is a wonderful acknowledgment of the importance
the contributions that african-americans have made to the success of the united states. kaiser permanente is thrilled the museum is creating a space that reinforces the concept that no one is prevented from achieving their potential because of social position or circumstance. we know that our position of total health will be achieved when every person has an equal opportunity to reach his or her full potential. [crowd chatter] ♪
prudential, we help power these dreams. for people. for organizations. for communities. is a promise that beats in the heart of who we are as a company. newark, our founding in new jersey. providing security for working beinges and commitment to there in good times and bad. we are proud to support the dreams that have driven and will continue to drive lasting, positive changes through the country. [crowd chatter] ♪
♪ >> the idf for a museum dedicated to african-americans was first put forward by black americans of the civil war. years later, the call was picked up by members of the civil rights generation. by men and women who knew how to fight what was right and for what is just. we didn't't give up, give in, we didn't get lost. creating this museum gives us the chance to manifest the
the national museum of african --rican history and culture the program is underway. your cv former speaker of the house nancy pelosi taking a photo with the current speaker, paul ryan. in for as marching performance. a lot of celebrities, well-known -- eleanors icons holmes norton down in the front. we also saw jesse jackson here earlier and we are about to hear from a choir -- again, national mall, opening day for the new museum. ♪ [indistinct chatter]
american history and culture. they are about two minutes away from starting the formal program. we have been hearing various entertainment groups all along. let's look at the speaker list. it includes president obama of course, lonnie bunch, former bush, firstorge w. lady laura bush, united states supreme court chief justice john roberts, and congressman john lewis. among celebrities we have yet to see, robbie de niro, stevie wonder, patti labelle, and also a performance by denise braves. audience, a few we have not seen so far -- michelle obama, vice president joe biden, jill biden, and former president ill clinton. -- former president bill clinton.
by the dawn's early light what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? red glarekets' the bombs bursting in air gave through the night -- gave through the night that our flag was still there o say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave freethe land of the
[applause] the through his efforts and dedicated staff that worked with him was this able to be a compress the night is beautiful. so are the faces of my people. the stars are beautiful. so are the eyes of my people. sun.tiful also is the the souls ofo are my people. say it loud. i'm black and i'm proud. say it loud. i'm black and i'm proud. say it loud. i'm black and i'm proud. thousands of slave ships took us far beyond the sights and smells of our land, and beyond the far-reaching flights of our birds, the positive in the caribbean, central america, the wilderness of north america -- there are, we were asked to sing one of the
songs, and some said, how can we sing the lord fell song in a strange land? and others said, you can sing if you know the lord. sing. did we sang spirituals. we sang the blues. langston said, they done took my blues and gone. broadway, them in they sing them in the hollywood bowl, they put them in symphonies. they fix them so they don't even sound like me. they took my spirituals and gone. macbeth and all .inds of swing mikados i guess someday somebody is going to talk about me, they are going to write about me,huh? write aboutng to me, black and beautiful. they are going to sing about me. they are going to make movies about me. where is oprah winfrey? make movies about me! [laughter]
butts: and i guess it will be about me. what we are witnessing today here, beloved, the accomplishment of all walks and life to come together to put together a monument for those who made america great. oh, yes. oh, yes, we built the wall. we pushed stick and mud on top of each other so the dutch would be protected from the english. we built the wall. we built the wall not only literally, but we built it figuratively. if you had be great me working for you for 250 years and never paid me a dime. [applause] come on. then we had to try to get it straight. the bonner family is here. father was' family in the civil war. the civil war tried to
straighten out. after the civil war was over, france sent a statue over here to commemorate me. we put it in the harbor of my home, new york city. we call it the statue of liberty. we welcomed everybody. this is "give me your tired, your poor" isn't it? me, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. we need this museum because it was me who was polishing the door to keep it golden all those years. [applause] i see this audience in front of me, but i know there are those across the country watching us now, and i celebrate this day because not only do i have a chance to give great applause to our president, the one and only, the man who is done more for this country than i have seen in a long time, barack obama. [applause]
rev. butts: and i want you to know, beloved, i'm almost -- igh, but i'm about just am a baptist preacher, so this is my first finish -- i say to you, in this museum, lonnie has made sure we have all that you need. blood, museum are the sweat, and tears all generations. in this museum of the blood, sweat, and tears of men and women who have gone out to raise the dollars to make this thing work. that is why i am glad they sat me next to ken. around ofto give ken applause, because he did a lot of hard work to get this done. say i'mlly, i want to very aware of what is going on. when i go in here and i walked -- i am very aware of what
is going on. i want you to know this was only accomplished because men and women of good will, black and white, rich and poor, republican and democrat put their hearts together, their minds together, and their hands together in order to build this great monument to a people who have truly given their all to the united states of america. don'tnally, i want to say be discouraged. listen, beloved, to be discouraged by what is ahead. hold onto your dreams and keep the faith. one african-american preacher wrote in the lyrics of a song, he said, "harder yet maybe this fight and rightly often yield to life satan's cause may seem to gain ah, but there is a god that rules above and he has a hand of power and a heart of love but if i'm right, he will fight my battles
and we will be free someday." i think we are right. i think dr. king was right. i think marian anderson was right. i think so many who have gone before us is right. i think barack obama is right. and if we are right, god will fight our battles, and we will be free someday. so, i thank you for gathering today. we have got a wonderful celebration before us. may god bless you. may god bless the african american museum of history and culture, and may god bless america. thank you so much. [applause] >> ladies and german, the secretary of the smithsonian , david skorton. skorton: good morning.
pleasure totinct welcome everyone to visit dawning of a new era at the smithsonian institution today. today, we open wide the doors of this museum to people in the nation's capital throughout america and across our world. the dream that so many envisioned is made real. several people who supported us here with us are this morning, including john lewis, representative of georgia's fifth district and author of the original legislation to establish the museum. [applause] and sam brownback, governor of kansas and lead senate sponsor and co-author of the
legislation. it is also my great honor to welcome former president and mrs. bush and president and mrs. obama. thank you all for your enthusiastic support of this endeavor. welcome as well is vice president joe biden and dr. jill biden. mr. vice president, i personally thank you for your work on our behalf as a member of the board of regents of the smithsonian and for your commitment of both of you to the smithsonian and to our newest museum. let me also recognize paul ryan, speaker of the house -- [applause] clinton.esident bill
[applause] nancy pelosi, house democratic leader and representative of california's 12th district. eleanor holmes norton, delegate to the district of columbia. [applause] near bowser, mayor of washington, d.c. -- muriel bowser, mayor of washington, d.c. and to members of the supreme court, members of the cabinet, members of the diplomatic corps, foreign visitors and all of our distinguished guests -- welcome. coming to this museum of african american history and culture. like all museums of the smithsonian, this one truly
belongs to the american. twoseum is many things, but elements are most important. the people who curate, preserve, interpret, and share its stories, and the collection itself. the incredible passion for this museum becomes evident when you find out about its collections. the majority of its nearly 37,000 objects, 3000 of which on display, comes from individuals and families, memories passed down through generations, stored in covers -- in cupboards and attics, on coffee tables. yet the people who donated these personal mementos at new other great power. the items displayed within the walls of this museum reveal profound truths, poignant
truths, and the universal truths that the african-american story is indivisible from the american story. [applause] that story is often resilient, triumphant, and inspiring, but it is also tragic. the museum candidly confronts and interprets slavery and jim crow, legacies that haunt us to .his day because of its honesty, this museum will spark dialogue, not just about our past, but about our present. it will be an important part of the national conversation face our issues and divisions and somehow move us forward together. this striking monument to african-american contributions and citizenship, this national museum of african american
history and culture, will help to build common cause a more perfect union. to quote lincoln, it will strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation's wins -- the nation's wounds. directorations to lonnie bunch and his staff for this remarkable, remarkable achievement and to the museum's council, the smithsonian regents, and all of the staff who have helped make today possible. thank you. [applause] >> please welcome the vice chair of the board of regents of the -- polytechnic institute, dr. shirley and jackson. good morning.
it is a high honor for me to be here today. education life, my surrounded by the resources of our nation's capital. school. segregated the people with the highest expectations for me as a young african-american girl were my parents. my mother taught my siblings and me to read before kindergarten. mechanicallyry gifted, served in world war ii in a segregated army unit. during the normandy invasion, he repaired the routers -- the r udders of the amphibious vehicles bringing the troops to shore. he did this under fire and for that, he received the bronze star. my parents, born just 50 years after the end of the civil war,
alone could not have carried me to the life that i have had. without the influence of two evidence that set me on a new trajectory and had the smithsonian institution not been thatto potentiate influence. the first was the brown versus board of education supreme court toision, which allowed me attend an integrated school, in -- instead of traveling miles across washington to a segregated school. the second event was the launch by the soviet union of sputnik i, the first artificial satellite, which ignited my interest in science and strengthened the math and science curriculum in the public schools in the united states. school, i was tested and placed in an
accelerated honors program, which led me to m.i.t., where i was one of only two america -- african-american women in my class. my great fortune was having the smithsonian as an extension of my classroom. it opened my eyes to the wonders of the natural world and to science. it's art and cultural resources allowed me to understand other eras, other places, other lives. it developed my empathy, imagination, and sophistication. girl, not from a wealthy background from a segregated environment and enriched and in noble to her life immeasurably. today, we arrive at another confluence, when
the smithsonian institution launches a museum where the history, culture, and heroism of african-americans like my father , like congressman john lewis, like our president barack obama, are recognized fully, constituting a great tributary, feeding the larger strain of our national story. me and so meaningful for for millions like me to see the full story of the people who came here in slaved, yet lifted so many others up and ultimately themselves. we do a very great thing today for the millions of children all over the nation and from around the globe, who will come to the
museum of african american history and culture and will emerged a star on it with an elevated sense of their own heritage, their own prospect, their own potential. my father always says, aim for the stars. that's what he told me. you will at least reach the treetops and you will be sure to get off the ground. i took his advice and many have aimedricans high and their achievements, large and small, have been given a place of honor here on the national mall. on behalf of of the board of regents of the smithsonian institution, i think all of you for being here. i think all of you who brought this to reality -- i think all
of you were brought this to reality. i, too, sing america. thank you. [applause] gentlemen, angela bassett and robert de niro. [applause] deniro. [applause] >> from the time african-americans were brought to these shores in slave ships they have written down sometimes in secret, sometimes in the open hurts, heartaches, joy, and music inside. this is what they said. >> frederick douglass, statesmen, abolitionist, escaped slave said "there is but one destiny, it seems to me, left for us.
to make ourselves and be made by others a part of the american people in every sense of the word. the way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them, one better die fighting against injustice than that i like a dog." ida b wells, journalist, crusader, one of the founders of the naacp. "mama dolly came off of the eighth round in zaire and spoke truth to power. champions are not made in gyms. champions are made from some thing they have inside of them. a desire, dream, vision. they have to have the last minute of stamina. they have to be a little faster. they have to have the skill and be will, but the will must stronger than the skill.
>> when i asked her why she did not give up her seat on the bus when they told her to, rosa parks said, i wasn't tired, physically. 42.sn't old, i was the only tired i was was tired of giving in. >> i believe that in one can experience diversity, touch a variety of its people, laugh at its craziness, distill wisdom t inside of oneself without going crazy, one will have earned the right to call oneself citizen of the united states. so wrote the pulitzer prize winning author james alan mcpherson. >> congressman john lewis, who at 21 was one of the 13 original freedom writers said this. chosen the time,
,iden, president and mrs. bush president clinton, mr. chief justice, members of the board of advisoryto the museum council, secretary davis gordon, to the leadership of the united states congress and all of my colleagues in the house and memory of the late representative room texas, the architects of this incredible building and the staff of the white house, federal agencies, congress, the smithsonian that tohed and pulled together make this moment happen. to all of the construction companies and their crews, thank you. for all you did to lead our proprietor to this
magnificent day. as long as there is a united there of america, now will be a national museum of african american history and culture. [applause] this is a great achievement. i tell you, i feel like singing from the march on washington 50 years ago how we got over. some said it could not have been. who said you cannot do it. we did it. we did it. we gather here today to dedicate a building. this place is more than a building. it is a dream come true. you and i, each and every one of seed of caught up in a
light. minds ofborn in the wars'veterans. they met here 100 years ago. street baptist church, ohill in existence today, what a dream can do. up the sleeves of those ght find theu mi wounds of shackles and fists. could not read the declaration of independence or write their names. in their hearts burned and enduring vision of democracy that no spirit or death could
every race. they understood the meaning of their contribution. possibility in motion, passing down through the ages from heart to heart and breast to breast. today toiven birth this museum as a testament to in every corner of the globe who year and for freedom. scribes,ong to the scientists, teachers, revolutionaries, voices of protest. to the ministers and authors of peace, it is a story of our lives. beautiful golden crown of grace. distant voice of
stealcestors whispering away home. we ain't got long to stay here. i woke up this morning with my mind on freedom. roaming forices centuries have found their home here, in this great monument. to our pain, our suffering, our victory. i was a child growing up in rural alabama. a short walk to the cotton fields, 100 miles from 10, the washington monument, the lincoln memorial. my teachers would tell less to greatt photographs of
african-americans. , nots negro history week african-american history month. i was inspired by the stories of george washington carver, jackie robinson, rosa parks, others whose work will be enshrined in this museum. as the doors open, it is my hope that each person who visits this beautiful museum, that they will walk away inspired. feel greater respect for the dignity and worth of every human being. a stronger commitment to the idea of justice, equality, and true democracy. thank you. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, former first lady of the united states, mrs. laura bush. [applause] thrilled to be here today. it is a terrific day. on december 16, 2003, president george w. bush authorized legislation for the establishment of a new the nationaluseum, museum of african american history and culture. [applause] when i toured the museum last week, we reminisced about those
.eginning days of the museum the legislation had been authorized. the site had been secured. the museum director had been hired. i will never forget his poignant words and we consider the historical and cultural tonificance of what was become. he paused for dramatic effect, so i thought, then said "what do we do now?" lonnie, look what you have done. [applause] you and your team have truly achieved a monumental achievement. congratulations. the next speaker signed the legislation and ensure the museum's place on the national mall. my husband, president george w. bush. [applause]
>> thank you. [applause] thank you, darling. laura has been very engaged in this museum for a long time. she sits on the board. to be here.ed my first reaction is i hope all of our fellow citizens look at this place. it is fabulous. [applause] lady, vicent, first ,resident, chief justice, david thank you very much. the board. i want to give a shout out to lonnie. it is important to understand that this project would not and could not have happened without
his drive, energy, and optimism. [applause] mentioned, 15 years ago members from both parties, sam fromback, the then senator candace, informed me they would atroduce legislation creating museum to share stories and celebrate achievements of african-americans. i did notss and always see eye to eye, if you know what i mean, mr. president. [laughter] this is one issue where we strongly agreed. i signed the bill authorizing the construction of this national treasure. i am pleased that it stands where it always belonged, on the national mall. [applause]
this museum is an important addition for many reasons. here are 3. first, our commitment to truth. not hide itsn does history. it faces its flaws and corrects them. [applause] tells the truth. the promiseunded on of liberty held millions in chains. the price of the union was america's original sin. some spoke the truth from the beginning. john adams called slavery an evil of colossal magnitude. their voices were often not heard, but they were often known to a power greater than any on earth. one that loves its children and
meant for them to be free. capacity tomerica's change. for centuries slavery and segregation seemed permanent. permanent parts of the national life, but not for harriet tubman, rosa parks, or martin luther king jr. [applause] all answered cruelty with courage and hope. in a society governed by the , after struggle and sacrifice the american people, acting through the most democratic means, amended the constitution that treated slaves as 3/5 of a person to guarantee equal protection. after struggle, civil rights and .oting rights acts were enacted the journey toward justice is not complete.
this museum will inspire us to go further and get there faster. finally, the museum showcases the talent of our finest americans. the gallery celebrates not only african-american equality, but african-american greatness. --annot help but note [applause] note that ap but huge influence of my teenage years is honored here. the great chuck berry. or my baseball idol growing up in far west texas, the great willie mays. of course, something i never really mastered, but thurgood marshall could give good speeches. i am a fledgling painter. a struggling artist. i have a new appreciation for
the artists whose brilliant works are displayed here. henry oswald tanner, charles henry austin. our country is better and more vibrant because of their contributions, and the contributions of millions of african-americans. of african-american history is complete or accurate without acknowledging them. is that all americans share a past and a future. by staying true to our injustice, righting we will be a greater nation for generations to come. i congratulate those who played a role in creating this museum. may god bless us all.
with inner vision. inner vision seems to be steel and i know that we must come together. it. cannot go on, all of any of it. it can't go on. all of the back and forth, the hatred. us as the united people of the united states of america. other countries getting involved in our business cannot go on. history has shown us that we can rise. we can climb out of these moments that should never define us, but to remind us that we can come together. that we have, we can, and we
will. climb the stairs of this magnificent testament, as you visit the story of a people, a country, a spirit -- remember our strength. remember our courage. together.we must come think about that. as you think, can i ask all of you one question questio? one question that only you can answer. is ourtion is, where love song? ♪
[applause] methank you for scheduling right after stevie wonder. [laughter] such ascourt decisions dred scott versus sanford, plessy versus ferguson, and brown versus board of education document shame and hope along the road to equal justice under law. this museum provides a place for us to learn what life was like for the brave individuals who brought those cases to the supreme court. you can see the tragedy of dredd and harriet scott in the 1840's broadside offering cash for the return of fugitive slaves. traveled widely throughout the united states with his owner.
he met and married harriet in what is now minnesota. they had 2 daughters. tried toowner died, he purchase his and his family's freedom with money he had struggled his whole life to accumulate. the owner's widow turned him down. only then did he turn to the courts with the supreme court familythat he and his were not even persons under the constitution. the bravery of homer plessy against the backdrop of the railroad car on display. homer plessy was a fair skinned ancestry.ed racial that is how he was able to purchase a ticket for the whites-only first-class compartment. when the conductor collected his ticket, homer plessy announced
that under louisiana law he was a black man. theet into process challenge of jim crow laws. a test that the supreme court would fail. dilemma facing all in aand leola brown photograph of five young african-american women outside of their segregated school. a hope for alance better life for your 11-year-old daughter against real fear for her personal safety? oliver and leola brown were people of strong faith. he was an assistant pastor at his church. together, they made the choice to enroll linda in the
whites-only school. together, they changed the world. you can read the court's decision in dred scott versus sanford, in plessy versus ferguson, in brown versus board of education and learn what the court held. if you want to know what those cases where about, you need to meet dred and harriet scott, plessy, and oliver and leola brown. you can do that in this new museum. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, advisory council members for the national museum of african american history and culture.
kinchen old and linda johnson rice. and linda johnson rice. day.is is a glorious on a personal level, i think i feel like many people here. if my parents -- i think of my parents, of my ancestors, the s, and they are more at peace today. distinguished guests and friends, it is an honor and privilege to stand with you today. like everyone who served on the advisory council, i feel a great tencent pride when i look -- a great sense of pride when i look at this building and i think
about what it represents to everyone at the smithsonian. to lonnie and his terrific team. youink you for -- i thank for bringing this dream to reality. [applause] donors.ndividual to the foundations. to the corporations who provided financial support, i think you. you.nk the doors will open because of the support that came from all americans. black, white, all colors, nationalities, and religion. famous, the family next door. our calls for help were answered by so many because so many
believed that this could be a museum for all americans. you will not be disappointed. it captures, by definition, the history and culture of african americans. [applause] it will share stories of struggle and success. those who died for freedom, and those who paved the way for others to follow. it will celebrate great achievements against great odds. it will remind us of the power of dreams and faith. it will caution us that more work lies ahead. that the road will not be easy. as a museum for all americans,
it will also remind us that what brings us together is stronger than what keeps us apart. thank you. [applause] our emotions today come not only from being officials who were lucky enough to play a part, but from being the sons and daughters of those who came before us. our great ancestors inside the museum. in a more personal way to thank our own families whose courage set us on our way. my father left arkansas because there was no high school education and few opportunities for him or his mother. they moved to chicago where he
was teased for his ragged ablhes, but his mind was aze with new ideas. such as if white readers love white magazines, wouldn't black read something about their own lives and aspirations. together with my mother, they went on to create the most successful magazine devoted to black life, ebony and jet. they allowed us to see ourselves in ways we never had for. to make us proud of who we are, what we have done, and can do here they reflected a full cross-section of black america, delivered by the best thinkers, i --d setters, atctiv
activists, and next-generation leaders. they guided conversation and became a catalyst for progress and pride. i'm overwhelmed by what is happening here on the avenue of history. this strong, magnificent building. not just the story of struggles and challenges, but of the decades and century of african-american contributions from all walks of life. me tois the chance for share with my daughter and your family the rich legacy we all come from that has left a glorious imprint on the culture of america and the world. thank you. [applause]
me to you just challenge a poetry battle? poem,on hughes called the what happens to a dream deferred? does it dry up like a raisin in the sun or fester like a sore and run? does it stink like rotten meat or crushed and sugared over like a syrupy sweet? maybe sags like a heavy load. or does it explode? >> i have been in sorrow's rich kitchen and i licked out all the pots. then i stood on the rainbows with a sword in hand. sometimes i feel discriminated against. it doesn't make me angry.
me.erely astonishes how can anyone deny themselves the pleasure of my company? it is beyond me. a writer in the harlem renaissance. [applause] zora.e >> that was hot. what are the blues? homegrown black music that acknowledges its tenuous nature of all human existence. a hirota response to what is called the human condition. we invented the blues. europeans invented psychoanalysis. you invent what you need. albert murray wrote that. [applause] is one of my favorites
from toni morrison, the winner of the nobel prize for literature. if there is a book you want to read, but it has not been written yet, you must be the one to write it. toni morrison. hot stuff. hot. are really change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but through continuous struggle. we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. back cannot ride your unless your back is bent, so said dr. martin luther king jr. [applause]
>> please welcome founding director of the national museum of african american history and culture. lonnie bunch. [applause] today, a drink too long deferred is a dream no longer -- dream too long deferred is a dream no longer. what a grand and glorious day to open a museum that will not only tell of a people's journey, but a nation's story. it is hard for me to believe
that we are at this moment where we as a nation will fulfill the expectations and hope of so many generations who believed and labored for a presence on the national mall to help all americans realize how much i , andbeen shaped, informed made better by the african-american experience. we are here because of the commitment and support of so many of you and thousands of others in individuals and foundations who believe the time has come for the creation of the national museum of african american history and culture. the diversity of the funding supporting this endeavor speaks volumes of the generosity of america. thane moved by the more 100,000 people who have become members of the museum.
who showed me their card and paid $25. we are here because of the the united states congress and the white house. i cannot thank president and mrs. obama and president and mrs. bush enough. [applause] it truly took an institution to build the national museum. we are indebted to the smithsonian institution, whose leadership from the regions, from the former secretaries to the current secretary, have never wavered in their support of this museum. a crucial component that brought us to this moment is the staff of the museum. forgive the sports analogy, but they are the dream team. debtor than the 61 yankees and -- better than the 61 yankees
and the 85 bears. you honor them your presence today. they are the best. the foundation, the bedrock of this museum has been the council, the board of trustees, under the leadership of dick chenault, they have used their influence to ensure his a successful campaign . i would like to ask the council to stand and be recognized. [applause] without your effort, there would not be a museum. others obviously played a key role. the first was the presidential
commission cochaired i robert wright and claudine brown which established the blueprint. also essential was the scholarly advisory committee. providing much of the intellectual guidance for the museum. notuld be remiss if i did acknowledge the architectural creativity behind us. thank you. [applause] this collaboration benefited from leadership and the wonderful design. thank you for what you have given us. we are fortunate to have exhibits designed by associates. i want to thank all of the
amazing workers, who in the ,rocess of construction realized this was their building and their history. i need to take a personal moment and thank my family so i can go home. they have lived with every moment of this job for more than a decade. my mother is here. think you, mom. my wife maria. my daughters. my son-in-law. and my granddaughter. thank you all, so much. it means a lot to me. briefly, i was asked by a journalist did we believe we could create a museum that had been in planning for more than a notury? how could we believe when we could dip into the reservoir of african american history? because the enslaved dreamed of freedom that wants seemed impossible. because they had faith in an
america that did not believe in them. how could we not believe when hearing the words of ida b wells, malcolm, or martin? we had to believe because of the audacity and beauty of jackie robinson stealing home. how could we not believe when hundreds of families opened their houses and trusted us with their artifacts and stories. we believe because george w. bush believed this museum must be on the national mall. we believe because the senator on chicago told us, yes we can. [applause] bittersweet for me. when i think of those that began this endeavor with us and are no longer here. we miss john franklin, clam
price, claudine brown eared we miss my dad. whenever i look at the museum, i do not see last and concrete. , andl the spirit, hope strength of those who went before and upon whose shoulders we stand. it is those memories that breathe life into the building. , in i look at the museum recognized it is a call to remember not only the well known, but those famous only to their families, whose lives in quiet ways shaped the nation. we remember so we can ponder the pain of slavery, segregation, second-class citizenry, find the resilience, faith, and joy that is part of the african-american community. we draw sustenance, inspiration,
courage from a people's commitment to help america, challenge america live up to its fated ideals. we remember not out of nostalgia, but out of needs for the contac -- from the contextualization and clarity from an unvarnished history. that may be that understanding can help america find healing and reconciliation. we remember so all that encounter the museum will understand american history through an african-american lens and understand how central african american history and coulter is to america's sense of self. 11 years ago we began this full of trepidation and motivated i a desire to complete a journey that began 100 years ago. for 11 years we dreamed, prayed,
and toiled. what cap us go -- what kept us going was the way people stopped us on the street to say thank you. i was standing on the corner here before sunrise. i wanted to see how the building would look. there was an elderly man on the corner. he was bent over sobbing. i asked if he was sick. all he could say was he was so proud that he lived long enough to see the birth of this museum. on behalf of that man, i thank you. i thank you because of your support for this museum. you have given 2 gifts. the first is a gift to america. thanks to your commitment and belief we guarantee that as long as there is an america, this museum to, engage, and ensure a more full story of the country will be told on the national mall.
.ou have given a gift to me i am honored and humbled to be a part of a group of people to build the museum. thanks to you some i've had the time of my life. this museum, we believe there is nothing more powerful than a in its a nation steeped history, and nothing more noble than honoring all of our ancestors by remembering. let me conclude why saying, welcome home -- by saying, welcome home. [applause]
how we are delighted, how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. tale of how we suffer and how we are delighted may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. today, as so many generations have before, we gather on our national mall to tell an essential part of our american story. one that has at times been overlooked. today, but just for for all time. president and mrs. bush, president clinton, vice chiefent and dr. biden
justice roberts, secretary reverend, distinguished guests, thank you. thank you for your leadership in making sure that this tale is told. we are here in part because of you, and because of all of those americans. the civil war veterans, the civil rights fooot soldiers, the champions of this effort on capitol hill that are more than eight century kept the dream of this museum alive. it includes our leaders from congress, paul ryan, nancy pelosi, it includes one of my who, as hen lewis, has so often took the torch from those who came before him and brought it past the finish line.
it includes that philanthropists , benefactors, advisory members who have generously given not only their money, but their time. it includes americans who offered up family keepsakes tucked away in grandma's attic. it includes a man who without his vision, passion, and persistence that we would not be here today. mr. lonnie bunch. what we can see of this building, the towering glass, the artistry of the metal work, is a site to behold. beyond the majesty of the building, what makes this occasion so special is the
larger story it contains. below us, this building reaches down 70 feet. spreading wider and deeper than any tree on the mall. on the lowest level, after you walk past remnants of a slave ship, after you reflect on the immortal declaration that all men are created equal, you can see a block of stone. sits the the stone historical marker weathered by the ages. generalker reads " andrew jackson and henry clay blockfrom this slave during the year 1830." i want you to think about this.
artifactwhat this tells us about history, about how it is told. be cast aside. n a stoneware day after -- on a stone where day after day for years men and women were torn from their spouse, their child, shackled and bound and liket and sold and bid cattle on a stone worn down by the tragedy of over 1000 bare feet. feet.housand bare