U.S. President Barack Obama, at the opening of the National Museum of African-American History, hails the new institution as a showcase for the “sufferings” and “triumphs” of African-Americans. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
Obama hails African-American museum opening
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking at the opening of the National Museum of African-American History on Saturday (September 24) , hailed the new institution as a showcase for the “sufferings” and “triumphs” of African-Americans.
At a lavish ceremony attended by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and numerous high profile celebrities and politicians, Obama appeared to tear up as he imagined taking his children and grandchildren to the museum.
“I imagine holding a little hand of somebody and tell them the stories that are enshrined here,” he said, “and in the years that follow they’ll be able to do the same.”
The bronze-colored museum’s showcase sits on Washington’s National Mall, known as “America’s Front Yard.”
The opening of the museum on the Washington D.C., National Mall on Saturday comes at a time of heightened racial tensions in the country, much of it centered around controversy over police killings of African-Americans.
Obama alluded to the national debate over racial tensions.
“This is the place to understand “where protest and love of country don’t merely coexist but inform each other,” he said. “how we can wear an ‘I can’t breathe t-shirt and still grieve for fallen police officers.”
The 36,000 items in the collection range from trade goods used to buy slaves in Africa to a segregated railway car from the 1920s and a red Cadillac convertible belonging to rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry.
After his speech concluded Obama joined four generations of an African American family to ring a bell to signify the museum’s opening.
99 year old Ruth Bonner, whose father was born into slavery but went on to graduate from medical school, rang a bell from First Baptist Church in Virginia, one of the country’s oldest African-American churches, founded in 1776.