Obama opens new black history museum
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama hailed yesterday the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, a long-awaited testament to black suffering and triumph in the US.
The first black president of the US cut the ribbon to inaugurate the striking 400,000sq ft (37,000sq m) bronze-clad edifice before thousands of spectators gathered in the US capitol at a time of growing racial friction.
“African American history is not somehow separate from our larger American story. It’s not the underside of the American story,” said Obama. “It is central to the American story.”
The star-studded public ceremony, just four months before Obama leaves office, included Stevie Wonder and Oprah Winfrey.
The Smithsonian’s 19th addition to its sprawling museum and research complex is the first national museum tasked with documenting the uncomfortable truths of the US systematic oppression of black people, while also honouring the integral role of African American culture.
“A clear-eyed view of history can make us uncomfortable,” Obama said.
“It is precisely of that discomfort that we learn and grow and harness our collective power to make this nation more perfect. That’s the American story that this museum tells.”
Meanwhile, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who is seeking to shore up support among black voters, stumbled over the name of the new museum.
He told thousands of supporters in Virginia, yesterday, the museum is a “really beautiful place”.
However, he called it the “Smithsonian national museum of American history, African American art”. – AFP