I got the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. It is located at 1400 Constitution Avenue NW, in Washington DC, 20560. I attended the Museum together with my family on February 27, 2019, in the morning hours. When I arrived at the Museum, my reaction was like Wow! It is the best place to learn the history of African Americans because the Museum is exclusively devoted to the documentation of African American history and culture. I must say that my time at the Museum was so enriching. From the time I arrive at the Museum, I realized that the size of the Museum alone was overwhelming. My journey began in the basement which is the lower level of the Museum. The arrangement of the Museum reflects the period of events. For instance, the basement contains the history of the slave trade, movement of the slaves in the middle passage by the ships that crossed the Pacific Ocean, the period of segregation, as well as the reconstruction period. The uppermost section is for the civil rights movement which I suppose is the latest event in the history of the African Americans.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is relevant in so many ways to the events that took place between the 1500s and 1865. For instance, behind the walls of the Museum are the tears of the many African Americans who participated in the reconstruction of America. However, the most important thing about the Museum is that it relates to the period of slavery when Africans were shipped to the Americas to be owned by the whites. The period of slavery depicts the endurance and pain that the blacks undergone from the middle passage to the time of the American civil war when the slaves were used in the war as loyalists by all the sides.
The historical event that I learned from the journey is the history of Louis Armstrong. He was considered one of the most gifted jazz musician in history. Even though Louis Armstrong was black, his talent transcended his color, and everything else about Louis became secondary to his jazz music. His talent shined at a time when there was a lot of racial divide in American, but he brought people from all ethnic backgrounds together through the art of music. What a wonderful thing! I also learned how sports such as the art of music could be a unifying factor for people from different racial backgrounds.
The historical events that were covered by the National Museum of African American History and Culture include the slave trade when the African people were shipped to the Americas to work for the white people. The site also covers the period of segregation that witnessed the mistreatment of the African people, and the civil war when the people of color were again used in the war.
There were so many exciting things from the artifacts such as the metal collars, chains as well as the wood displayed in the walls. There were too many people from all the ethnic backgrounds, so I didn’t see all that was there, but I must also confess that different items such as the King Cotton were available for exhibition. It was so enriching to see the first cotton mill discovered a long time ago. It is easy to read about King Cotton in the history books, but it takes a lifetime journey to visit the Museum to get the firsthand experience.
I still have the feeling that the most memorable part of my journey to the Museum was the civil rights era. It is placed at the uppermost part of the Museum because the events are arranged based on the period. For instance, the basement contains the issues of slavery. The mistreatment of the black people beginning on how they were taken out of African, life in the plantations as well as all the pain they endured under the white domination. I find the civil rights era outstanding because most of the items in the Museum such as the police brutality against the people of color still possess a lot of relevance today.
Furthermore, the other floors of the Museum contain a lot of pain and suffering that people had to undergo in history, but once you arrived at the upper part, you would see some exhibitions and video presentations that provokes various emotions. For instance, some railcars clearly distinguished the white seats as well as the black seats. Others places also bared the writings of colored only and whites only. The recorded audios that captured blacks speaking, singing, performing other arts provoked different feeling that I thought was somehow better than the events in the basement.