WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress created the Museum of African American History and Culture back in 2003 and now the museum is finally taking shape.
The National Mall is the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became known to the world for his “I have a dream” speech in 1963. Now, the new African-American museum that is being built will be the home for many other African-American heroes whose stories will be heard around the world.
“Visitors will get the chance to understand the genesis of this community and its diversity,” said John Franklin, senior manager of external affairs at the Smithsonian.
He has worked at the Smithsonian for 26 years, and is the son of an historian.
“For many years, the role of African-Americans was left out of our history,” Franklin said. “And you can’t really understand the breadth of our history without understanding the critical role of African-Americans in shaping that history.”
Franklin was a high school junior when King, Jr. was assassinated.
“When I come into college in the fall of ‘69 it is the class that has been admitted since King’s assassination and doors are opening that have been previously closed,” he said.
Franklin said inside the museum, King will be talked about as a civil rights worker, leader, and as a martyr for society.
“We have really come a long way,” said Charlie Yetter, senior project manager of construction at the museum.
“We have made great progress as a country, and I think that is what is one of the exciting things about being part of this project and seeing these things happen and being able to contribute to something that will be here forever.”
Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2015.