Director of new Smithsonian African American Museum talks to WBT - | WBTV Charlotte

Director of new Smithsonian African American Museum talks to WBTV

Growing out of ground and finding an esteemed place on the National Mall, the concrete and completion of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has been a long-held vision of its executive director, Dr. Lonnie Bunch.

"Here's the story from Africa to the United States, to different parts of the world,“ Bunch said. "One of the most important things we can do is realize this is not a black story for black people, but in some ways it's the quintessential American story."

The compelling narrative of this American story is carried is out in a structure that is five stories high with several more levels that go far below.

A spectacular grand opening happened last weekend, and since then lines to get in have been long.

While so many milestone moments are national in scope, Bunch explained how the African American experience across the Carolinas is duly noted and cataloged.

"I think the Edisto Island slave cabin is one of the most important items we've ever collected, because slavery is one of the last unmentionables - we're still uncomfortable by it," Bunch said.

Not just a wooden cabin with roots from South Carolina, but moments connected to the Tar Heel State's well-documented Civil Rights timeline including an image of the late Franklin McCain who called Charlotte home.

"We'll be able to introduce them to an array of stories and ideas and moments that they have no idea about," Bunch said. "They’ll find moments to cry and moments to smile."

They are moments that connect the past to present day understanding.

Tickets have been booked months advance, but availability can be checked by by clicking here.

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