WASHINGTON – Vice President Mike Pence will give remarks at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
After the speech, he will take a tour of the museum.
The museum opened in September 2016, but the effort to bring the museum to life began decades ago. The plan was finally set in motion in 2003 when George W. Bush signed a bill creating it. Ground was broken in February 2012.
The Smithsonian says the museum is the only one in the US exclusively focused on African-American life, history and culture, but organizers say it is also meant to capture the story of all Americans.
Officials said the chronicling of slavery and freedom are the centerpiece of the museum. That exhibit contains such items as a slave cabin from South Carolina, a bill of sale for a 16-year-old girl for $600, shackles used on slaves and a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.
There is also an exhibition focusing on the fight against segregation, which discusses the era from end of Reconstruction through the Civil Rights Movement. Here, visitors see such things as abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s hymn book to a dress Rosa Parks was making shortly before she was arrested for not giving up her seat on a segregated bus; a Tuskegee airplane used to train African-American pilots for World War II flights; a segregated Pullman train car as well as a stool from the Woolworth store where there were sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960; and separate water fountains.
A separate section examines the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power era of the 1960s and 1970s and other activism remembering many activists, including Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King.
The museum holds more than 3,000 artifacts — with many contributed from ordinary Americans from across the country. There are also tens of thousands of other artifacts which have been contributed which could be rotated later into exhibition space.
There are also many iconic items celebrating the achievements in sports, music, television and film including Michael Jackson’s fedora hat worn during his 1984 “Victory Tour,” boxer Muhammad Ali’s headgear, musician Chuck Berry’s Cadillac, baseball star Jackie Robinson’s bat, some of Olympian Gabby Douglas’ items as well as a statue honoring American athletes who held their hands up as a demonstration of solidarity during the 1968 Gold Medal ceremony.