tv [untitled] February 25, 2012 5:00pm-5:30pm EST
and i'm delighted to introduce one of the champions that made it a reality. congressman john lewis is a symbol. the last surviving speaker from the 1963 march on washington, and a hero of the civil rights era. in february 2011, john lewis received the presidential medal of freedom. the nation's highest civilian honor. he responsed the -- he sponsored the legislation to accomplish this museum. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the honorable john lewis. [ applause ]
>> good morning. >> good morning. >> thank you linda, for those kind words of introduction. mr. president, mrs. obama, mrs. bush, my colleagues from the congress, my beloved friends, what we witnessed today will go down in history. it is the substance of things hoped for and a validation of our dreams. it is the moment of people protested and struggling longed for and what our ancestors believed in. but never to be behold.
it is that point of critical mass when an idea becomes so powerful, it leaves the rim of inspiration and becomes invisible, even to the untrained eye. this is an idea whose time has come. when i think about all it took to reach this point, the black civil war veterans who took up the cause many decades ago, the spirited debate and in the long years of silence, the advocates and the opponents. when i think of the plane crash that killed the champion and election of this poor boy from rural alabama, who spent more than half of his congressional career introducing the museum bill only to have it end in a bipartisan effort. and inspired by men and women of faith, you remind me of the
words of one of my favorite poets. langston hughes. it seems so fitting and appropriate here. the name of the poem is harlem. and in it, he says, what happened to a dream deferred? does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? festering like a sore? and then maybe it just sag like a heavy load. or does it explode? today, we must thank the white house and the united states congress, my former colleague governor sam brownback, max cleland and jc watts, the smithsonian board of regeregent the director of the national museum of the african-american
history and culture, lonnie bunch and his entire staff. the distinguished adviser counselor, of celebrity and scholars and a general corporate and individual donors, who have taken a dream deferred and helped it find its place in history. it is also the beginning. there's still much work to do. as we pursue this worthy goal, sent to us down through the ages we must not shrink. we must call upon the courage of those who were in the struggle, long before any of us were born. we must tell the story, the whole story, 400 year story of american african contribution to this nation's history from slavery to the present. without anger or apology. the problem we face today as a nation make it plain. make it clear.
that there's still a great deal of pain that needs to be healed. a story told in this building, speak the truth that has the power to set an entire nation free. reveal the boldest lesson of liberty, just as in a true democracy to us all. i look forward, lonnie bunch, i look forward to the day when i can enter the exhibits, sift through the archives, anticipate in the program, rest my tired feet in the cafe and get lost in history inside the granite wall of an idea whose time has finally come. we didn't give up. we didn't give in. we didn't give out. we didn't get lost in a sea of despair. we kept the faith. we kept our eyes on the prize. thank you.
>> thank you, congressman lewis. inspiring. it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you another renowned and important supporter of the museum. governor sam brownback served 14 years in the united states senate prior to becoming the governor of the state of kansas in 2011. his commitment to this museum is based on his deep commitment to human rights. while in the senate, he called on the united states to condemn the genocide in sudan's darfur region and to ban human
trafficking around the world. senator brownback sponsored the legislation to sponsor this museum. so please join me in welcoming senator brownback. >> what a great honor to be here with you. mr. president, mrs. obama, my former colleague john lewis, and other colleagues that are here. this is a momentous occasion and i'm delighted to be part of it. in kansas we have a deep sense really of our state's history and destiny. we're one of the few states in the union that was formed for a cause. and our cause was to end the barbaric practice of slavery. john brown was one of our most famous residents. the president was also a resident of kansas at one time.
john brown's legacy is a mix of righteousness, violence and zealotry. but his cause was the undoing of the enormous crime of slavery. before he was executed for treason, he spoke these haunting and prescient words. i john brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but by blood. a great deal of blood was shed in the years that followed, even after the civil war. the nation had a long way to go before we could realize the goals laid forth in our founding documents. blatant bigotry, casual disrespect and an ever-present disregard for the dignity of african-americans was the rule and not the exception in our land. this even after legal segregation was ended. even after dr. king marched on washington.
even after rosa parks refused to give up her seat. even after those three shots rang out in memphis and another american poet and prophet was called home to be with the lord. the african-american people have experienced the worst of our shortcomings as a nation. the shortcomings of justice, of compassion, of humanity. this museum will allow the culture and the identity of the african-american people to be celebrated as one that shed these unconscionable circumstances. met its unparalleled challenges. and rose to an unimaginenable achievement. the ground breaking could not be more timely. some could see it as a way to gloss over the sins of the past or an attempt to pay back the injustices. it is neither of those things. it is instead a celebration of a
uniquely american triumph of will. to consider this museum an airing of grievances is to sell it dramatically short. it is in fact a presentation of the triumph of the african-american people. this museum cannot be for caucasian grandchildren just to see how awful the crimes of their ancestors were. or for the african-american ancestors to see how they were treated. what is for the american grandchildren to see the triumph of great americans. in 1957, dr. king wrote these words. but the end is reconciliation. the end is redemption.
the end is the creation of the beloved community. we are one step closer to that vision today. god bless you all and thank you for being here. >> learning american history through listening to music could be considered by some a short cut. that is unless of course the teacher is the opera star, thomas hanson. then it's more than just learning. it's being transported. this celebrated bar atone from
washington state is celebrated, but he's long been an advocate of american song. today, he graces this celebration with works by two iconic american composers, grief by william grant still and simple gifts by aaron copeland. ♪ ♪ weeping angels holding it low in your hands ♪ ♪ morning angel, with heart
♪ 'tis the gift to be simple, 'tis is a gift to be free ♪ ♪ 'tis a gift to come down where you ought to be ♪ ♪ and when we find ourselves in the place just right ♪ ♪ twill will be in the valley of love and delight ♪ ♪ when true simplicity is gained and we shan't be ashamed ♪ ♪ to turn, turn will be a delight until i turn and turn we come round round ♪ ♪ 'tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free ♪
♪ 'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be ♪ ♪ and when we find ourselves in the place just right ♪ ♪ twill will be in the valley of love and delight ♪ [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, returning to you now founding museum director lonnie bunch. >> you know, as i mentioned earlier, this museum is indebted
to a wonderful array of dopnors and supports, but today i want to acknowledge one of the youngest donors. one of my youngest students worked with the children as they celebrated the history of african-americans. when they learned of the museum, they started an effort entitled make a change with change. so last year, these students collected $600 in coins and presented it to the museum. [ applause ] today, -- today they -- oh, they're cute. hi, how are you? today they are here with their second gift. please welcome tracy, johnny and piper. thank you. thank you so much.
the stuyvesant montessori school. [ applause ] >> yes, living proof, generosity comes in all sizes. no list of american composers is complete without the name edward kennedy ellington. duke ellington, that is. ellington called his music american music, not jazz. rather than jazz. he gave america memorable music for more than 50 years, as a composer. as a band leader, and as a pianist. there's one contemporary pianist who keeps the ellington legacy alive and his name is jason moran. of course, jason is about creating his own 40 karat history. last summer he walked away with three major awards from down beats annual critics poem.
>> that was jason moran. and the smithsonian magazine recently dubbed him keeper of the keys and after that rendition of ellington's "i like the sunrise" i think we all know why. yes. thank you, jason moran. every day millions experience the wonder of the smithsonian. children engage with timeless artwork in all of its museums. teachers spark the fascination of teenagers with science lessons shaped by the smithsonian scholars. researchers navigate the vastness of the ocean and
explore the biodiversity of panama. guiding the work of the largest museum and research complex in the world is dr. wayne clough. as the 12th secretary of the smithsonian, wayne clough is overseeing a $900 million building and renovation program which includes the construction of the smithsonian's 19th museum, the national museum of african-american history and culture for which we are breaking ground today. with a doctorate in civil engineering from the university of california at berkeley, clough was president of the georgia institute of technology for 11 years. as head of the smithsonian since 2008, he has put the smithsonian's attention in what he calls four grand challenges.
unlocking the mysteries of the universe, understanding and sustaining a bio diverse planet, valuing world cultures, and understanding the american experience. it is with honor that i present to you dr. wayne clough. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you, for that kind introduction. wow, what a beautiful day. it's an honor to be here as the 12th secretary of the smithsonian with president obama, mrs. obama, mrs. bush, all these distinguished guests, and wonderful friends who are here. it is a remarkable day. at the smithsonian of course we strive to provide a lens through which america can see the world and indeed the world can see america. and today that picture comes
sharply into focus. the national museum of african-american history and culture adds essential chapters to the essential american story. voices silenced in the past will be heard here now and in the future. we realize this dream. life long dream. thanks to the generosity of the administration, the congress, and the american people. working together we bring america's treasures to parents, teachers, learners of all ages across the country, around the world, and best of all it's all free. no inflation here. the museum director lonnie bunch started, he had a staff of exactly two and zero objects. no concrete of course has yet been poured for this museum, but lonnie and his team have already
created a strong foundation for it. because today he has more than 20,000 artifacts in addition to education programs and vibrant exhibitions. in 2015, visitors will be witnessing the history when this new building opens its doors to america and the world. it will join our 18 other smithsonian museums which tell the stories of all the people who made this country great. our existing museums and this secretary will support lonnie and this museum, allowing us to fully speak to african-american's contributions in art, history, culture and science. so many thanks to lonnie and his colleagues, the museum's advisory council, all of our regents and especially patty stone cipher for her work throughout this and for helping to my all this project to fruition. of course we are honored to welcome president and mrs. am
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