Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee released this statement celebrating the opening of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture:
“Today’s opening has been a long time coming. Nearly 100 years ago, in 1929, Congress passed legislation to establish this museum.
Now, it has finally become a reality thanks to the tireless efforts of thousands, including dedicated leadership from Civil Rights champion, Congressman John Lewis, and the Congressional Black Caucus.
Unfortunately, African American history remains a footnote in most textbooks and classrooms. This museum will be a vital tool in educating all Americans about the struggle of African Americans who faced tremendous odds, yet kept the faith and helped build our great nation.
While much work remains to fully tell the African American story, this museum will hopefully help inform and bring greater context to current issues facing African Americans and our nation, including racial injustice, mass incarceration and structural and institutional racism.
On Monday, I had an opportunity to preview this beautiful and haunting museum. This museum tells our story from where it begins, long before slavery, and continues all the way to the present.
While it celebrates the triumphs and immeasurable contributions of generations of Africans and African Americans, it also tells the upsetting but honest story of centuries of oppression, from slavery through Jim Crow and into the modern day, that African Americans have overcome.
I could not be happier to see this important institution open at a place of honor on our National Mall. This museum is and will remain a vital storytelling tool for our nation and the American people.
Additionally, I hope that this institution begins an honest and full discussion about reparations to correct the vestiges and lingering legacy of slavery.”
Earlier this week, Congresswoman Lee became an original co-sponsor of a Congressional resolution celebrating the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The resolution will be introduced by Congressman John Lewis.
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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Democrat Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity.