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10 Destinations for African American History and Culture

National Geographic – The new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., is one of many significant sites across the country. “The new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., shines light not just on one group of Americans but a quintessential American experience. “The African American experience is the lens through which we understand what it is to be an American,” writes founding director Lonnie G. Bunch III. Never before has the opportunity to tell that story on a grand, national scale been so available. Despite initial funds provided in 1915 by black Civil War veterans and a signed Public Resolution from President Calvin Coolidge in 1929 establishing a commission to plan its construction, it wasn’t until legislation signed by then President George W. Bush in 2003 that the museum had the authorization it needed to be created on the National Mall. No matter how long it took to get here, the outpouring of response to the museum’s opening this month is proof positive that the demand for it remains strong. Now, for the first time, visitors will be able to explore more than 400 years of artifacts and historical information detailing the African American experience. It couldn’t have happened at a more interesting time. Racial tensions are high in the country. Black Lives Matter demonstrators clash against police brutality, athletes protest the national anthem, actors use awards ceremonies to raise awareness on stage, and parents—a generation removed from the civil rights marches of the sixties—wonder if the era is about to be relived. There is no question that this story is worth telling and little doubt that the NMAAHC is worthy of a visit, but travelers hoping to get in right away may be out of luck. Advanced timed passes for October, November, and December are no longer available, and only a limited number of same-day passes are distributed daily. Long before construction of NMAAHC, the story of the African American experience was told through smaller museums and monuments across the country. These 10 diverse destinations will help travelers connect with some themes to expect in NMAAHC exhibits until their trip to Washington, D.C…”

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