On a warm afternoon in late September, President Obama stood before a crowd of more than 7,000 official guests, including such notable figures as Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith and Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. C., a 400,00 square foot building displaying more than 36,000 artifacts tied to the African American experience in this country.
The comments were chosen to mark the long-awaited opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.
"This museum is a repository of information and artifacts that pertain to the African-American diaspora, dating back to the community's establishment in 1716," says Director Darrell White, who's fond of noting that his is the only African American museum on Main Street in America.
While only a few thousand visitors a year make their way to the Natchez Museum of African American History, it's also the recipient of a Trip Advisor certificate of excellence.
On the stools beside museum visitors at the counter are three-dimensional figures that heckle you, providing at least a small sense of what it must have been like for the brave souls who took a stand that day.
"The museum has always been a phenomenal place but we had to take into account how people engage in information now, and technology is a part of that.
The eloquent and deeply meaningful words written by Hughes and spoken by Obama on that day could just as easily be applied to all of the new civil rights venues and educational offerings springing up in the Deep South these days, places that are working to showcase a part of our country's history that often exists in the shadows, not fully accepted, recognized or seen as central to the American story.
From new museums and memorials, to smartphone apps dedicated to civil rights tourism and multi-million dollar renovations of long existing, iconic museums, the expanding and diversifying tourism opportunities related to this chapter in our history are providing a richer and more extensive exposure to the African American experience then ever before."It validates the significance of what has been occurring throughout the south in smaller properties that are struggling to survive." All of these efforts are vehicles that assist in getting the story out, says White.They all, in their own way, call attention to the brave souls who withstood abuse, beatings, and more when all they were trying to do was to was simply exercise rights that were to have been guaranteed by the constitution.Irish immigration continued to increase in the nineteenth century as a result not only of the famine of the 1840s, but also because of growing persecution from English landlords who raised rents to levels resulting in mass evictions.After 1840, emigration became a vast, relentless national phenomenon.The book's aim is to highlight places that are still accessible today.