2005 NEWS RELEASES, PRESS ADVISORIES AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

USCCR URGES PROMINENT SITE FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MUSEUM

Panel Says New Museum Should Occupy 'Honored Place' on National Mall

Washington, DC - The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urged the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents to select a prominent location on the Mall in Washington, D.C. as the site for the forthcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture.

A letter directed to Secretary Lawrence M. Small, signed by all 6 Commission members, said in part: "[T]hroughout our nation's history, the contributions of black Americans have stirred our nation's conscience and helped shape our character. It is important for every American to know that history. By highlighting the accomplishments of black Americans, such as George Washington Carver and Colin Powell, and by telling the story of the Civil Rights Revolution, this museum will educate and inspire all Americans."

In announcing the Commission's action, Commission Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds said: "The important contributions of both ordinary and heroic black Americans, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, to our nation should be remembered and admired in a museum awarded an honored place among some of our nation's other great museums."

On December 16, 2003, President George W. Bush signed legislation to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It will be the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. The museum's collections will cover topics as varied as slavery, post-Civil War Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement.

05/23/05