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Slavery in America

Slavery is something no one wants to talk about. It’s such a shameful time in our history, but it cannot be ignored. The enslavement of Africans for hundreds of years divided a nation where people were bought and sold, and brought about the Civil War which pitted brother against brother.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is expected to open in 2015 with an exhibit to tell the story of slavery in America. It’s an uncomfortable subject and will be a challenge to tell that story but it needs to be done. Lonnie Bunch, a historian and the museum’s director said, “So much of our history is in the basements, attics and trunks of people.

Years have been spent collecting artifacts and stories that have been passed down through the generations. It has been a huge undertaking. Slavery shaped our nation , industry, and our culture. It ripples through history like waves on the ocean. It’s time to acknowledge the facts.

Collected fliers depict the buying and selling of slaves at auctions in the middle of Washington D.C., the scar whipped backs of runaway slaves and the whips and shackles that were used, some small enough for a child. Nancy Bercaw, an associate curator on the political division at the National Museum of American History said, “One quarter of those in slavery were children, uncomfortable as the facts might be, it defines the history of African Americans.”

Other artifacts are bills of sale, with descriptions of men and women identified by their first names, with slave buttons marked with the owners name. There’s also a  bible belonging to Nat Turner, who led the slave rebellion in 1831 killing 50 whites, but in rturn more than twice as many slaves were killed.

Contributions will be shown that blacks have made to the American society, public service, fashion, arts and more. Included in the exhibit will be a training plane by the Tuskegee Airmen in World War 11, a silk shawl given to slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman by Queen Victoria, and Michael Jackson’s black felt fedora. The museum also took on Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and slave owner of Sally Heming, who he fathered children by.

Bunch left his job as director of the Chicago Historical Society in 2005 to be the founding director of the new museum which is part of the Smithsonian complex of museums and galleries. Bunch had a staff of two and said he had no idea how to began and not one single item in the collection. Now he had 90 people working with him, and has collected over 20,000 artifacts.

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  1. fishfry aka Elizabeth Figueroa

    On February 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Great article. Sadly thou, I am finding they are trying to re write history. From slavery to the holocaust. My grandchildren when they grow up ( I don’t have any yet!) history will have been changed tremedously. Sad.

  2. Jswana

    On February 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Thanks for depicting the Museum and its historical account of America’s past involving slavery. The DuSable Museum in my community is expending its exhibits on the subject as well. Yes, it is hard for some to look back on but it is a reality and I thank you for sharing. :)

  3. Molly Girl 822

    On February 24, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    This will be a structure that houses much sadness, but it is necessary.

  4. Tiki33

    On February 24, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Discussions about slavery can be uncomfortable but the stories need to be told. We should learn history and be reminded of how far we’ve come. In society today there’s another issues arising and it also needs attention.

  5. A Bromley

    On February 24, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Great article. I am looking forward to visiting this museum when it opens. Slavery has been a black mark on society since the beginning of time. It is sad that humans can treat other humans in such a despicable manner and we need to recognize it. Not all slaves were African-American but here in America they mostly were and though some were treated well though not necessarily fairly most were not and I am so glad they will be opening this museum soon. This is a really, really good share. Thanks.

  6. Shirley Shuler

    On February 24, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Excellent read, Ruby, thank you for the history lesson.

  7. Chris Stonecipher

    On February 25, 2013 at 12:23 am

    This is an excellent article Ruby. My son is of mixed race and he is always looking for my information about his heritage. I will show him this article. Blessings, Chris

  8. Rezaul Karim2

    On February 25, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Well written article, thanks.

  9. jennifer eiffel01

    On February 25, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I think slavery was a sad time in our countries history. It is sad when people do not think of others welfare. We are all in this world together whether or we want to be d then we should just all try to get along! Regardless of our color we are all brothers and sisters.
    Good article!

  10. Eunike

    On February 25, 2013 at 4:55 am

    Yes, slavery is shameful.

  11. Netty net

    On February 25, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Great article.

  12. yes me

    On February 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Ruby that is a good welcome for me I feel I am on a brink in my Nations Re Birth or yet another death of a thousand Cuts cheers I really liked that one.
    P.S keep em coming

  13. Rico Porter

    On February 26, 2013 at 3:14 am

    well written thanks

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