Although the tent was crowded with living history — President Obama, Rep. John Lewis, Colin Powell, Steve Case, Al Sharpton and Laura Bush — the speakers at the groundbreaking of the Smithsonian African American museum emphasized the future.
And not just the impact of having the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall. Not only the building. But also the learning legacy it will give the children of the coming generations.
“The time will come when few people remember drinking from a ‘colored’ water fountain or boarding a segregated bus, or hearing in person Dr. King’s voice boom down from the Lincoln Memorial,” said Obama, explaining what the new museum will teach. He spoke about his family’s future and how the museum will intersect with Americans far away from many essential points of history.
“In moments like this . . . I think about my daughters,” he said. “When our children look at Harriet Tubman’s shawl or Nat Turner’s Bible. . . I don’t want them to be seen as figures somehow larger than life. I want them to see how ordinary Americans could do extraordinary things.”