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MLK Holiday Field Trip 2017

I share a birthday with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so, to celebrate back in 2017 over the MLK holiday weekend my family and I traveled to Washington, D.C. to visit Dr. King’s Monument and tour the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Visiting Dr. King’s monument was free and is within walking distance to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. On 1964 Independence Way is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Memorial. The address for the memorial references the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The 30-foot statue of Dr. King emerges from two stone boulders as his arms are folded and he looks out. When I saw the statue towering above me in my mind I thought of Dr. King’s words from the “I Have a Dream” speech.  On the side of the statue is a quote from the speech that says, “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” I felt such an array of emotions visiting the museum and seeing Dr. King’s monument. We have come a very long way in the United States, however, we still have some ways to go.

Poet Langston Hughes’ “I, too am America” quote is written on the walls of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The quote is an excellent example of the well-known and unsung Black people who have contributed to American society. The museum’s grand opening was in September 2016 and various celebrities and philanthropists such as: Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Melinda Gates, Denzel Washington, and Robert Wright financially contributed to the building of the museum. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga), spent years fighting Congress to make the museum a reality.    In 2003, former President George W. Bush signed the legislation authorizing the National Museum of African American History and Culture to be built.

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The three-tier bronze aluminum building, which was designed by Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye, sits on the National Mall near the Washington Monument. Admission to the museum is free, but you have to pre-order the timed entry e-tickets by going to the museum’s website at www.nmaahc.si.edu. It takes several hours to tour the entire museum, and if you get hungry from all the walking there is a restaurant located in the museum. The self-guided tour is such an emotional journey, but I recommend all ages and races of people to visit. The basement of the museum starts at The Slave Trade and each level ascends to another time period. These other time periods range from: The Civil War, The Signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, The Era of Legal Segregation, The Civil Rights Movement, the Black Panther Party, African-American Achievements, and music, sports, and pop culture of previous decades, up until The 44th President Barack Obama’s presidency and present day. Overall, the museum is very nice and detailed. My family and I stayed for several hours and still did not absorb everything the building has to offer! I’m pretty sure if I were to visit again I would see things that I didn’t notice the first time. Even if you don’t have an opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. my hope is that all people will take time out of their schedules to read and educate themselves on Black history. I’m so appreciative of my ancestors and everything they endured for me to have the privileges I have today as a young Black woman in America.

 

 

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