African American History Museum In Washington D.C. Represents Major Milestone

It has been about a year since the African American History Museum was opened to the public in Washington D.C. The opening in September of last year represented a major milestone in African American history and culture. Plans for a national African American History Museum were first advocated about a 100 years ago by African American civil war veterans.

The opening of the National Museum of African American History in 2016 was a landmark event that represented the struggles of generations of African Americans working to establish a museum about their history and struggles. Its opening ceremony was attended by president Barack Obama, who has African roots on his father’s side.

You will find the National Museum of African American History located right on the National Mall in D.C. alongside the Washington Monument. It has a unique exterior that is made up of wooden columns that culminate in a crown at the top. The museum is part of the 19 Smithsonian Museums.

Inside the National Museum of African American History, there is a chronicle of the African American experience in the United States. Historic exhibitions cover life under slavery in the South where many African American were enslaved on plantations. The Civil War and Civil Rights Movement is also covered. Museum planners and directors say that the museum is meant to create tension.

A lot of African American history is tough, and the museum wants to convey that message. Even getting the museum approved, funded and built was tough in of itself. The federal government said that it would only cover about half of the costs of the museum. This is unusual. Most Smithsonian museums are fully covered by federal funding.

Approval for the museum also faced hurdles after Congress rejected the idea of a separate national African American museum. It eventually gained approval under President George W. Bush and construction was completed under president Barack Obama. Funding costs were covered by philanthropists and prominent African Americans such as Oprah Winfrey, the Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Black And White Need To Unite

Given the recent KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, during which questionable police action was involved and two articles relative to nooses being found in our nation’s capital, many people including educators are suggesting that emphasizing African-American culture and historic figures during Black History Month celebrated in February each year is not enough. Not only do students appear not to receive enough information, but many white adults seem to be lacking as well. Both blacks and whites pledge allegiance to the same flag, but are we truly one nation?

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s theme revolved around the need to “Make America Great Again;” however, in a recent interview the only Black American history figure he appeared to be somewhat knowledgeable about was Fredrick Douglass. Perusing a brief article entitled “White Children Need To Know More Black History” penned by Huffington Post contributor Justin Cohen is worth the time as well as perhaps reading at least one of the literary references suggested in the College Student/Adult reading category.

The discovery of two nooses being found in and around the area of the Smithsonian devoted to African-American history was cited in the Huffington Post and other new media sources around the country, After a few days, this news was quickly relegated to the back-burner in the minds of most people despite reassurance by Smithsonian associate David Skorton relative to the importance of maintaining and fostering American values including diversity.

Reading the acticle entitled “Learning Black History Is Learning American History” is a good test tool to assess your personal knowledge regardless of whether you are a black or white American.

The 13th Annual Cottagers African American Cultural Festival

The Cottagers on Martha’s Vineyard is sponsoring an important African American Cultural Festival. This particular festival will be given in honor of black people and all of their accomplishments. Normally, Black History month celebrations take place every year in February.

While many people (black and otherwise) enjoy these celebrations; a lot of other people could care less about them. Since this is the case, the Cottagers on Martha’s Vineyard puts on an annual African American festival during the summer to remedy this problem. The MV Times typically features a story about this great event.

The African American Cultural Festival will take place on Thursday July 26 and it will be the Cottagers 13th celebration of this type. This festival helps black people and other Americans from different backgrounds to be able to learn about African culture and American black people.

The Cottagers really enjoy this particular festival because it delves deeply into the lives of black people and their contribution to America. The festival also includes good food, good music and lots of lectures. The lectures will be about women’s contribution to American history and situations impacting them.

The festival is a really big event on Martha’s Vineyard. Many summer tourists travel into the area to experience it and local residents enjoy the festival as well. While many lectures take place at this festival, there is music, games, concert and fun events as well. Many entrepreneurs attend the festival to sell their goods. The hosts of the festival want everyone to know that black history is not just about black people – it’s about everyone in America.

Umbra Search Makes African American History Accessible Year Round

The University of Minnesota is now providing a free online search tool to access African American history.


Umbra Search will provide nationwide access to historic documents, photos, and archival materials. The university’s efforts brings together online databases of libraries and cultural heritage institutions to provide 500,000 documents of African American history.


Umbra Search builds a national corpus of African American works, said Umbra Search Cecily Marcus. She said the search engine will be able to give students, artists, and scholars the ability to research, interpret and tell the story of their ancestors.


Umbra, which means “shadow” in Latin, was chosen with purpose. African

American history has been in the shadows for too long, suggest many scholars. Umbra search will bring volumes of historical documents into the light.


The Penumbra Theatre Company, based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, is the main founding partner in the production of Umbra Search. The historic theater group has been in the forefront of preserving African American history since its founding in 1976. It is the home base of Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson whose acclaimed play, Fences, has starred the likes of James Earl Jones and Denzel Washington.


Other national partners include Howard University, Yale University, and the Smithsonian Institute.


The University of Minnesota has also provided open access to its Givens Collection of African American Literature. This treasure of archival material includes books, sheet music, notebooks, diaries and other ephemera which dates back over 250 years.


“By providing access to thousands of digitized materials, Umbra Search makes it possible to do research at libraries all across the country without getting on a plane,” said Kara Olidge, executive director of Amistad Research Center at Tulane University. “We are honored to be a partner.”


The project was made possible by the financial support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.