President Obama on Saturday celebrated the opening of the National African-American History and Culture Museum in Washington, D.C. 

“This museum tells a story of America that hasn’t always taken a front seat in our national narrative,” he said in his weekly address. 


“As a people, we’ve rightfully passed on the tales of the giants who built this country,” Obama added. “But too often, willful or not, we’ve chosen to gloss over or ignore entirely the experience of millions upon millions of others.

“[This museum] doesn’t gauze up some bygone era or avoid uncomfortable truths. Rather, it embraces the patriotic recognition that America is a constant work in progress; that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is within our collective power to align this nation with the high ideals of our founding.”

Obama then cited some of the powerful exhibits at the new museum, which has its grand opening Saturday.

The president mentioned shackles that restrained a child slave, for example, and Olympic track and field star Jesse Owens’s cleats.

“That’s what we’ll celebrate not just this weekend, but in the years and generations ahead – a fuller account of our glorious American story,” Obama said. 

“It’s a chance to reflect on our past and set a course for the future. Because here in this country, all of us, no matter what our station in life, have the chance to pick up the pen, and write our own chapter for our time.” 

Obama said Friday at the African-American history museum that it can provide important context for continuing racial divisions in America. 

“The struggles we’re going through today are connected to the past,” he said, citing two recent police shootings that killed black men in Charlotte, N.C. and Tulsa, Okla.

“And yet all the progress we’ve made can sink into space, because if we join hands and we do things right and we maintain our dignity and we continue to appeal to the better angels of this nation, progress will be made,” America’s first black president added.