WASHINGTON, DC –“With much generous support from the Mayor and Council of the District of Columbia and hard work by our staff and volunteers, it is finally finished, a great new 5,000 sq. ft. African American Civil War Museum at 1925 Vermont Avenue, N.W.” said Dr. Frank Smith, Founder/Director. 2011 ushered in the beginning of a four-year celebration as America remembers the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War and the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement. The 3-Day Celebration, July 16 – 18, 2011; the theme is “Civil War to Civil Rights, Pathway to Racial Healing.” [See article about blacks’ role in the confederacy, pg. 13 in Diaspora]
For more than ten years, the African American Civil War Monument and Museum has stood as a testament to the struggle of African Americans and others to rid this nation of the scourge of slavery and racial bias. There is no doubt, America is a much better place for all having shed itself of slavery and a Jim Crow past, now comes closer to living out the meaning of the words ‘One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for Alt’.
On July 18, 2011 at 12 noon, the Grand Opening of this great, new and permanent site of the African American Civil War Museum, will join the ranks of educational, historically accurate and interactive museums, with $5 million in exhibitions, touch screens and the best curator in town! The New location at 1925 Vermont Avenue NW is directly across from the African American Civil War Memorial, which highlights the story of the 209,145 African American Soldiers who served during the American Civil War.
The Board of Directors and Staff of the AACWM invite all to attend the Grand Opening Ceremony of the New Museum, to be held Monday, July 18, 2011 beginning with a VIP reception at 12:00 noon. The Opening Ceremony and Awards Program will start at 1pm. Mayor Vincent Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Norton and other elected officials and dignitaries have been invited. Other events include a Saturday, June 16 Racial Reconciliation, Teachers and Scholars Conference; and Sunday, June 17, a Civil War to Civil Rights Film Festival. All events will be held at the new location listed above, which includes the ribbon cutting and dedication of the new site. All Access Passes are being sold for $200.00/per person for attendance on all three days. Proceeds will benefit the museum programs.
Former Ward One Councilman, Honorable Frank Smith is the founder of the project. July 18, 1998, is a significant date; when the African American Civil War Memorial, Spirit of Freedom was unveiled, now a national monument, located directly across the street from the new museum. Thus, July 18, 2011, the date of the new museum opening has been planned to directly connect the museum to the July 18, 1863 battle, as seen in the movie “Glory” starring Academy Award winner Denzel Washington. You see the heroic assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, with this historically documented battle of the US Colored Troops.
Over the next four years, America will celebrate from 2011 – 2015 which reflects the Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary of the American Civil War (1861 – 1865). Dr. Smith said, “We always want to plan our celebrations around significant dates when the US Colored Troops made history!”
The new location also contains a media center and a research area for descendents and scholars. The African American Civil War Monument and the new museum site has added greatly to the master narrative about Civil War slavery and justice by injecting primary information on the heroic role of blacks in helping Lincoln to win the war to keep America united under one flag.
Between 2011 and 2015, the African American Civil War Memorial Museum is putting together a series of programs on the American Civil War from the start of the war; emancipation; to the end of the war; and post war situations of the newly freed slaves. The next four years present a great opportunity for the nation to make great strides in the discussion about race and equality and itis for this reason that we have adopted the theme: “Civil War to Civil Rights, Pathway to Racial Healing.”
We invite the general public on this great journey to mark your calendar and plan to attend this special celebration. A schedule of events along with our promotional flyer is attached for your review. Beverly Perry, Senior VP, PEPCO is the board chairman.