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Visit to African-American Museum a moving experience

Sometimes sports isn’t the point.

I visited the new African-American Museum of History and Culture last week. It is stunning, magnificent, inspiring, moving and, well, I’ve run out of words.

Prior to last week, I visited three places in my life that touched me deeply. Arlington National Cemetery with the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns and the Kennedy grave site, the Vietnam War Memorial and the Holocaust Museum.

All were experiences that were profoundly moving.


The African-American Museum ranks with those.

I am convinced white America doesn’t get it. They need to come here. They need to see what was done to black people and need to understand, if they can, what black people had to overcome and, indeed, still have to overcome.

Let me tell you what happened on my visit.

The building is by the Washington Monument, on the National Mall next to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Admission, like all Smithsonian Museums, is free.

I approached the Museum and there were hundreds of people sitting on benches outside of the building. A guard approached and asked if he could help.

I told him I planned to visit and he said I needed a ticket; a free ticket, but a ticket nonetheless. Worse, I could either get one online or show up at 6:30 next morning.

I said I didn’t know that. He asked if I was a veteran, I said no, just a retired teacher. He smiled and pointed to the lady staffing the entrance and to tell her I was a teacher. I did, she smiled, said welcome, and ushered me in.

I am forever grateful for her kindness.

The folks at the information desk, noting that at the moment the lines inside had shortened, urged me to take the elevator down and to work my way up.

That was the right way. As the elevator, which held maybe 75 people, descended, it grew progressively dark.

When the door opened, I found myself centuries past, with exhibits that described in graphic detail…

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