National Museum of African American History set to open

The grand opening is on September 24th

(Credit: CNN)

(CNN) – A new branch of the Smithsonian is set to open its doors just blocks from the White House this month. The National Museum of African American History and Culture will celebrate its grand opening on September 24th.

It focuses on black contemporary culture from hip-hop music, to rock ‘n’ roll, or Chuck Berry’s red Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Six floors are dedicated to African-American history and culture.

Some 70 TV cameras were there Wednesday morning for the opening in the media preview of the Smithsonian’s newest addition.

Secretary of the Smithsonian David Skorton said, “The inauguration of our newest museum occurs as race and cultural differences dominate the national discourse.”

In the sports area, there’s a statue of the black Olympians with fists raised in 1968. Many exhibits are on the history of slavery and how black people were packed into ships like sardines. Abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s shawl and hymnbook are there, along with a history of civil rights.

Among the many there on Wednesday was the reverend Jesse Jackson. He said, “We are the foundation of the country, not the bottom… started from 246 years of work without wages, but it’s not just for African Americans. It’s for everybody. This is the African American dimension of the American experience.”

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