Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY, Jan. 31, 2006
A museum that supporters say will feature the achievements of African-Americans as well as painful moments in their history will be built on the National Mall not far from the Washington Monument.
The Smithsonian Institution will operate the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The prominent location, announced Monday, promotes the concept that African-American life is a part of mainstream American life, said Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who has been pushing for the museum for about 20 years.
“That site is the front door to American democracy,” Lewis, a student activist during the civil rights movement, said Monday.
“I think it dramatizes the fact that African-American history is American history and must be shared with everyone,” he said.
The museum will feature “truly American stories of perseverance, courage, talent and triumph,” Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small said.