(WASHINGTON) — Breaking ground on the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, President Obama said Wednesday he hopes the museum will remind future generations of the, “sometimes difficult, often inspirational, but always central role that African-Americans have played in the life of our country.”
The president spoke of what he would like his own two daughters to take away from the long-sought-after museum, which will be the only national museum devoted exclusively to African American life, art and history.
“I want my daughters to see the shackles that bound slaves on their voyage across the ocean and the shards the glass that flew from the 16th Street Baptist Church and understand that injustice and evil exist in the world, but I also want them to hear Louie Armstrong’s horn and learn about the Negro League and read the poems of Phillis Wheatley,” he said. “I want them to appreciate this museum not just as a record of tragedy but as a celebration of life.”
The president was joined by his wife Michelle Obama and former First lady Laura Bush at Wednesday’s ceremony. The museum, which is set to open in 2015, will be built between the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, Joshua Berlinger, Ashley Fantz and Steve Almasy, CNN
Matt McFarland, CNN
Lorenzo Ferrigno and David Shortell, CNN