Growing up I recall hearing my grandmother say that our history was lost. Although she was correct in was in some way correct stating this my question was how do we find it? Last year the National African American History and Culture Museum opened its doors to the publi near the capitol in Washington DC.
Yesterday I had the pleasure to walk into this amazing facility. It is part of the Smithsonian Institute and if you know anything about Smithsonian they don't short-change in there museums... ever! As you approach the building (for me) the architectural design was very intriguing created from metal materials bar like structures that look like bondage yet it was raised high & the sun rays of light reflected off of the few windows that you could see through the bars. I overheard some people say that it wasn't as glamorous as they thought it would be on the outside. One thing for sure they couldn't deny that it was spectacular inside. From the lower level to the very top floor it was filled with amazement.
To really enjoy each exhibit I would suggest that you visit two days. My husband and I traveled with The Womens Industrial Service League, Inc. along with my seven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter. It was suggested to me by Elders not to bring my children to the lower levels because it focused mostly on slavery and the slave trade. My husband and I both agree if not now then when? I thank God that I didn't wait for the Smithsonian to tell me about my history and how I should reveal it to my children. My son is fully aware about the good bad and ugly. He could tell you the when, where, and how. He also could tell you about notable African-Americans that people rarely know. He definitely didn't get it from me, that's all from his dad? This ypu n prince has taught me so much in his seven years.
Even more so I'm proud to say that he was able to answer a trivia question about black history on the bus ride to tge museum! He won a really nice activity book. As I gazed at all of the artwork and all of the words written on the walls in each exhibit I couldn't help but feel a lump in my throat. I wanted to cry not necessarily tears of sadness. It was tears of joy, tears of celebration, tears of gratitude, tears of hope, tears of pride, and most of all tears of appreciation. I have never felt so proud to be a black woman growing up in the United States of America. Oh sure there are a lot of negative things going on still. But the fact that I could just sit back for a moment and not think about anything but how great we are as a people and the contributions we made to this country. Great is thy faithfulness! If you ever have an opportunity to visit the African American Museum of Culture and History please do! You won't regret it take your time and absorb all of the information.
Every floor, every poster, ever inscription, every exhibit nothing should be passed up. Nothing should be missed. Also never ever feel like your children are too young if they ask questions they are ready. There are five-year-old's talking about sex right now as you read this, when is the right time? My son and daughter have prayed and resighted scriptures since they could talk. Oh sure they didnt always know what they were talking about. However now they do. I don't know anything about my family beyond my father, on my father side. I don't know the history of my family past my great grandmother on my mother's side. In essence one would say our history is lost. I do not know what part of Africa my family came from. Oh sure, I can easily purchase DNA /ancestry kit. It would still not fill the void and shake the feeling of being disconnected. Walking into that building and looking at all those amazing artifacts. Being surrounded by other visitors Black, White, Asian all who were astonished and inspired. No section was cheated or slapped together. Even the section regarding stereotypes and stigmas placed on the African American people since they arrived to this country. Even the descriptions of all the Africans brought to the islands were mentioned frequently.
The food was a la carte catering to southern, creole pallet. There was also a dessert bar guaranteed to tame any sweet tooth. I had the pecan pie!
Me being a doll maker sometimes you come across racist post shaming Brown/Black dolls topics are debated constantly. I was happy that they left a section to shed light on the Golliwog.
The golliwog, golliwogg or golly is a black fictional character from the 19th century they are usually seen depicted as a type of rag doll. They were created by home based doll-makers, and believe it or not commercial. The dolls have black skin, eyes rimmed in white, huge full red lips, and nappy hair. This is a topic I bring up often about representation. These dolls do not represent us, however this is what people saw around the world.
Don't worry I didn't reveal too much. I hope that you enjoyed this blog about my visit to the National African American Cultural and History Museum.
Rather you get there next week or next month remember that...
AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY IS NO LONGER LOST!