The 100-Year Mission To Create
The National Museum Of African American History And Culture
By Robert L. Wilkins

Commission Considers Black History Museum

The Associated Press

U.S. Rep. John Lewis envisions a slave ship exhibit, depicting the passage from West Africa to America.

The chairman of Howard University’s Afro-American studies department, Russell Adams, wants to be sure there’s a place for the stories of today’s black middle class and the problems of the black underclass.

The challenges of capturing all the triumphs and tragedies of American blacks in the first National Museum of African American History and Culture are just starting to emerge as the project crawls forward from concept to reality.

It should “tell the story of African-Americans from the days of slavery to the present,” said Lewis, a civil rights leader and longtime proponent of a national black museum.

“Part of that story has not been told, and in America so many people grew up … without knowing the contributions of their fellow Americans.”

A 23-member museum commission was created under legislation sponsored by Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia, and signed into law by President Bush in December.

Its members, expected to be named in the next few weeks, will have $2 million and nine months to come up with a plan for the national museum in Washington.

Specifically, they will have to report on the availability and cost of collections that would be housed in the museum, where it would be located and who should operate it.

Most supporters agree the museum should be broadly focused. But figuring out how to tell the story of the black experience in America can be a delicate issue, Adams said.

USA Today; February 3, 2002

Posted in News & Events on February, 2002