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We Are America’: New African American History Museum Opens

After more than 100 years the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington, D.C.

Last preparations are made before President Obama attends the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Sept. 24, before the museum opens to the public later that day. The museum is a Smithsonian Institution museum located on the National Mall.

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Former Secretary of State Collin Powell arrives to watch the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Astrid Riecken / Getty Images

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder greets the current U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the opening ceremonies of the 85,000-square-foot museum.

JIM LO SCALZO / EPA
Journalist and media mogul Oprah Winfrey and actor Will Smith greet the crowd before quoting poems of famous African American poets during the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Astrid Riecken / Getty Images
A woman raises her fist into the air on the grounds of the Washington Monument as President Barack Obama arrives. Cliff Owen / AP

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs former President George W. Bush while President Barack Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush look on.

 

 

The push for the museum began in 1915 with African-American Civil War veterans looking for a way to commemorate America's black experience. Former President George W. Bush signed the law authorizing the construction in 2003.

JIM LO SCALZO / EPA

Congressman John Lewis is embraced by President Barack Obama after his speech. Lewis was a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights movement. He co-sponsored legislation authorizing its construction, said the bronze-colored museum "is more than a building, it is a dream come true."

Astrid Riecken / Getty Images
First lady Michelle Obama wipes her eyes as she listens to her husband, President Barack Obama, speak at the dedication ceremony. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
A young woman wears earrings with the slogan "Black Lives Matter" printed on them during the dedication and opening ceremony. Cliff Owen / AP
President Barack Obama begins to tear-up while speaking at the ceremony. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
President Barack Obama, with first lady Michelle Obama and Ruth Odom Bonner, center, ring the bell to officially mark the museum opening. Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

A crowd listens to the presidential address during the dedication ceremony for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.Sept. 24.

 

 

With thousands of items occupying 85,000 square feet of exhibition space, the new Smithsonian will chronicle the complex relationship between the United States and a people it once enslaved, and tell the story of those who worked to make the necessary changes to bring the country to where it is today.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP