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Obama opens new black museum on National Mall

By JESSE J. HOLLAND and DARLENE SUPERVILLESeptember 24, 2016
President Barack Obama speaks during the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
President Barack Obama speaks during the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first national museum devoted exclusively to the history and culture of African-Americans is now open.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama opened the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall by ringing a bell from a historic African-American church.

The museum is the 19th and the newest of the Smithsonians.

The push for the museum began in 1915 with African-American Civil War veterans looking for a way to commemorate America’s black experience. Former President George W. Bush signed the law authorizing the construction in 2003.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis co-sponsored legislation authorizing the museum. The civil rights icon said the bronze-colored museum “is more than a building, it is a dream come true.”

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