New Smithsonian museum chronicling black history opens

WASHINGTON – Saturday was a day to celebrate history with the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Political leaders, celebrities, and citizens from across the country were on hand to open the doors to a six story building that tells the journey of black Americans from slavery to the White House.

"I wanted to be a part of this," says Jackie Winters of Ypslanti, Michigan.  "I wanted to be a part of the celebration, the excitement, and the history."

Sam Meyerson, who is from Australia adds, "When I was walking in I saw these busses of old people and they were all getting off the bus with their walkers and I was thinking how incredible that people have come from all across the country just to be here today."

400,000 square feet, at a price tag of $540 million, the museum has been in the works in earnest for 13 years.  It originally was the idea of a group of black civil war veterans more than 100 years ago.

President Barack Obama, the nation's first African American president, gave the keynote address at today's opening ceremony.  The President reflected on the importance of the museum's completion.

"The African American history is not somehow separate from our larger American story," Obama said.  "It's not the underside of the American story, it is central to the American story."

The museum has quickly become the hottest ticket in town.  Although admission is free you have to have a ticket and the museum is booked solid through December. 

The hope is to draw people from around the world to inspire and educate.

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