|The creation of a national African-American history museum on the National
Mall received a major boost recently, as key supporters announced the name of
the organization that intends to be its principal promoter and fundraiser.
The organization, Friends of the National Museum of African-American History
and Culture (NMAAHC), said it plans to work with officials of the Smithsonian
At a press conference next to the Smithsonian's Castle, Frederick Douglass,
IV, president of the Friends of NMAAHC, said, "This effort is about
preserving, displaying and teaching African-American history, so that it
doesn't fade into obscurity." Douglass is the great-great grandson of the
renowned 19th century abolitionist, orator, editor, statesman, author,
suffragist, publisher and confidante to President Lincoln.
The Smithsonian's Board of Regents recently voted unanimously to approve the
establishment of the African-American museum. Congress is expected to vote on
legislation creating the new museum in this session.
Once the museum is finished, Douglass added, it will house a permanent
exhibit of artifacts and records that span more than 400 years of
Douglass is leading a broad and growing coalition that already has secured
bipartisan Congressional support from 220 lawmakers and more than a majority
of the House of Representatives. Congressional sponsors include: U.S.
Representatives John Lewis (D-Ga.) and J.C. Watts, Jr. (R-Okla.), and
Senators Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Max Cleland (D-Ga.)
The museum's major corporate backers include: Robert L. Johnson, CEO of BET
Holdings, Inc., Earl Graves Ltd. and Black Enterprise Magazine, Clinton
W.Chapman, Esq., international financial services giant Citigroup, Alliant
Energy, an international energy firm and Capitol Automotive, a national
automotive retail property firm.
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