Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia


Sep 22, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) released the following statement today in recognition of the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture this Saturday, September 24:

“Today, I would like to take a moment to pay special recognition to an important, forthcoming moment in the American experience. On Saturday, September 24, the Smithsonian will be opening its 19th museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This museum will illuminate the dark pain of the past and also celebrate the tremendous progress of a dynamic people with a complex history.

“Built on the National Mall, upon what is colloquially referred to as America’s front yard, this museum has been a dream more than one-hundred years in the making. The initial discussions began in 1915 with the Grand Army of the Republic and the Committee of Colored Citizens – a civil war veterans group that called for a museum to honor Black veterans and the cultural contributions of the African American community. Over the following decades, the concept grew in fits and starts under the backdrop of the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War and the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, and the Civil Rights movement. It would not be until 2001 that legislation was finally signed into law that established a Presidential Commission tasked with putting together an implementation plan for the museum.

“Robert Lee Wright, Chairman of the Presidential Commission, and his team wasted no time in undertaking their charge. In 2003, the museum commission published The Time Has Come – a report that propelled legislation formally establishing the museum and that itemized all the administrative details necessary to transition the project from a creative vision to a materialized reality.

“This was no easy endeavor. Proponents of the museum fought through numerous congressional hearings. Consensus was often difficult to obtain. Debates were had over funding and location, and even over whether there was truly a need for this museum.

“As we move closer to Saturday, let us commemorate this crucial patch finally and dutifully being sewn into the quilt of American history. Though the seams may be laden by a past of injustice, let us recall the focal point of this momentous occasion. This museum acknowledges the vital role African Americans played in the evolution of this great nation, extols their cultural contribution to the American experience, and looks forward to the United States fully embracing equality and justice for every citizen.”