Witnessing History: NMAAHC Grand Opening

Through Middle Passages and Sea Islands they came

Through shackles in clouds of Allendale cotton Ghosts of Our Past, Echo Our Future

Keeping whispers of Africa in Geechee tongues

Through Dolly and Charlie in bondage born but died free

In Miracles lie today in the face of Mother Mamie Brought to life by Cousin Betty

Ghosts of Our Past, Echo Our Future Wiping away generations of fears and tears

Giving life to a shared future of hope Seen in the lands of Smoakes

And new miracles come in the generations of Dorians, AJs, Yetundes, Trentons, Jameses, and Justlanas

With dreams yet to come Ghosts of Our Past, Echo Our Future

Let us hold onto each other knowing that in that embrace the yearnings of a family

The history of a people and the Promise of a nation are made.

-Poem by my cousin Jackie Copeland Carson, recited at the Aiken-Riley-Major Family Reunion in Charleston, Summer 2011

What a glorious day! This morning, President Barack Obama and the Bonner family rang the historic bell, signifying the commencement of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

As a program volunteer, I was on duty in the museum’s Family History Center and to assist visitors with wayfinding.

Saturday, September 24, 2016 will be revered as a timeless victory for our country because the museum, designed to spotlight the great struggles and even greater successes of black Americans throughout history, is now open.  Former President George W. Bush said it best at the dedication ceremony, “This museum honors not only African American equality, but African American greatness.”


NMAAHC Opening Day