WE NEED AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSEUM ON THE MALL
HON. JOHN LEWIS
in the House of Representatives
Wednesday, February 1, 1995
Mr. LEWIS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I am once again introducing a bill
to establish an African American Museum as part of the Smithsonian and
to be located on the Mall in Washington, DC. I do this on the first day
of black history month to highlight the need for and the importance of
such a museum.
The story of black people in America has yet to be told. As a result,
the understanding of American history remains incomplete.
African American history is an integral part of our country, yet the
richness and variety of that history is little-known and little-
Too few people know that Benjamin Banneker, an outstanding
mathematician, along with Pierre L'Enfant, designed this city. Some of
our Nation's greatest cowboys were black, including Bill Pickett and
How many people know that Dr. Daniel Hale William was a pioneering
heart surgeon in the last century? And that Ernest Everest Just, Percy
Julian, and George Washington Carver were all outstanding scientists?
One of the greatest periods in America's cultural history was the
Harlem renaissance. Writers, artists, poets, and photographers like
Langston Hughes, James Van Der Zee, Countee Cullen, and Aaron Douglas
were all part of the renaissance.
More recently, the civil rights movement changed the face of this
country and inspired movements toward democracy and justice all over
There is much, much more--and it must be told to all Americans. Until
we understand the African American story in its fullness and
complexity, we cannot understand ourselves as a Nation. We must know
who we are and what we have done in order to truly consider where we
must go from this day forward.
I am pleased and delighted that many of my colleagues have
cosponsored this bill. I urge all my colleagues to support this
worthwhile and important legislation.