President Obama has formally opened the US National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington – nearly 100 years after it was first proposed by black civil war veterans.
Together with Ruth Bonner – the daughter of a man born a slave in Mississippi – they rang a bell from one of the first churches organised by black people.
The president told a dedication ceremony that the Smithsonian Museum was a “remarkable tribute”, adding that the story of black America was the story of America.
“I know that years from now, like all of you, Michelle and I will be able to come here to this museum, and not just bring our kids, but hopefully our grandkids,” Obama said in his speech. “Together we’ll learn about ourselves as Americans, our sufferings, our delights, and our triumphs.”
Obama said the museum – which has more than 30,000 objects – was important and would help put what he called today’s “troubled times” in a historical context, referring to current racial tensions over police killings around the country.
The opening festivities are due to last for three days.