Rep. John Lewis Applauds Mall Location for Museum
January 30, 2006 - Rep. John Lewis was delighted to hear that the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution determined to follow the leading recommendation of the Presidential Commission to locate the site on the National Mall. Congressman Lewis worked for 15 years to gain passage of the bill that would authorize the museum. He submitted legislation in every session of Congress to establish the museum, and the bill finally passed the House in 2001. It was signed into law in December of 2003. A prestigious founding council has been chosen to lead the efforts to build the museum, and today, after much speculation, a prominent site was chosen to house the museum.
"I am so gratified. I am very pleased," said Rep. Lewis, "that the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution decided to place the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall. The National Mall is the front door of America. It is a symbol of our democracy. And by placing this museum on the Mall along with other important national landmarks, the Board of Regents has acknowledged to the nation and to the world that African Americans played a major role in the founding and sustaining of this great country. We helped build America, and we have contributed in every way to its stature in the world community.
"We have made contributions in science, politics, medicine, education, art and so much more. Above all, the African American struggle to be included has helped to expand the reach of our democracy and helped America meet the challenge of its own destiny. I want to thank all of our friends who contributed to the bi-partisan effort that brought us to this day. I will do all I can to work along with the Smithsonian and the other major interests and groups involved to insure that this important museum becomes a reality."