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Black Excellence at Smithsonian Museum Opening

The grand opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is a watershed moment in our history. Saturday’s dedication was marked by the appearance of key influential American figures who stressed the importance of acknowledging the vast contributions of Blacks to America.

The narrative goes well beyond that of slavery, reconstruction and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, as our history books seem to dictate. Finally, it seems, the country is ready to honor those who built it.

Among those leading the charge of the museum’s implementation were Johnson Publishing Company Chairman Linda Johnson Rice. As co-chair of the museum’s council,  Johnson Rice collaborated with several key members of society to ensure the museum actually came to fruition.

During Saturday’s dedication, Ms. Johnson Rice stressed the importance of acknowledging those who came before us.

“They allowed us to see ourselves in ways we never had before,” she stated, while sharing a stage with President Barack Obama, Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey and more luminaries.  “To make us proud of who we are, what we’ve done, and can do.”

EBONY Photo Editor Geoff Black was on the scene and captured some of the moments from the historic event in the pictures below.

Linda Johnson Rice, left, Chairman, Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., at the dedication ceremony for the Smithsonian Museum

 

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama share a laugh at the dedication ceremony for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture

 

Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith speaking on stage as President Barack Obama look on.

 

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United States Representative John Lewis Democrat from Georgia speaks at the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

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Actors Angela Bassett and Robert DeNiro speak at the NMAAHC dedication Saturday.

First lady Michelle Obama embracing former president George Bush, accompanied by his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, while participating in the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

First Lady Michelle Obama embracing former president George Bush, accompanied by his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, while participating in the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture