On Saturday, April 28th, I had the honor and privilege to travel to Washington DC and visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum is absolutely amazing. It left me with a sense of pride and admiration for my ancestors that endured the evils of slavery, Jim Crow, and all the other things that were built to break up. However, here I sit as a testament of the strength and resolve of those courageous men and women. There were several times during the being of the tour where I felt like crying because the treatment that was trust upon them was inhumane at best.
I must applaud the person(s) that designed the museum the layout was superb. When you enter there is a massive entry way on the main floor. You can start your tour upstairs which houses more of the cultural item or downstairs which tells the 400 years of slavery. I chose to start downstairs at the beginning (slavery history). There are four below ground levels. As I made my way through the exhibits I noticed that there was a docent speaking to a small group of visitors, therefore, I stopped and listened. There was this wall that listed that names of the slave ships that captured the 12,500,000 Africans to transported as free labor…slaves. Next to the names of the ships there was a set of numbers with a numerator and denominator. The numerator indicated number of Africans that were placed on the ship and the denominator indicated those that made it once the ship reached its destination. The docent pointed to one ship which had 237/70. This means that 167 Africans died after being captured and placed on this ship. Once you look at the wall and understand the gravity of the situation it is a bit overwhelming to even think about and this was just the being of what would be a horrid existence for these Africans. Of the 12.5 Million Africans only 400,000 were brought to North America, however, 4,000,000 were brought to Brazil. The museum moves along chronologically, and you can see the progression of slavery and how we endured through the years.
Several people who visited before me noted that they did not see any LGBT references. To be honest I am torn as to whether it is necessary. I can make an argument for either, but I was not upset that there were not visible references to the LGBT community.
The above ground portion of the museum was nice but not as fascinating. This may be due to my interest in that part of our history. A lot of the cultural items I had lived through.
Many black people are afraid or apprehensive to learn and embrace the full history of our people. However, it is my belief that you do yourself and your lineage a disservice by not embracing the discomfort you feel regarding our history. Your discomfort pales in comparison to what our ancestors had to endure so suck it up and learn all your history. Every person and especially every black person should visit this museum, if possible.