Culture Diversity & Inclusion Education

Reflections on the Museum of African American History and Culture

When at 1400 Constitution Ave in Washington, DC one cannot help, but notice the massive bronze infrastructure before their eyes. There will be birds soaring high grabbing your attention, as they glide pass the National Monument. Below, will be a luxury pond designed to create an ecstatic hymn, soothing sound hypnotizing your ears to stick around. The crowd of onlookers consisted of guest waiting in line, resting or finding themselves distracted by men and women selling drinks. The young hustlers came up with clever advertisements with statements such as “don’t let dehydration ruin your vacation,” a fun source of entertainment to reel you in, as time passes by. This is the sight of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, a Smithsonian Institution Museum.

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However, entering this marvelous castle like infrastructure, joy for many quickly turns to this emotion of sadness and despair. The museum tour begins with a descend in an elevator packed with an overwhelming amount of people, standing shoulder to shoulder. Employees, will narrate this journey to the basement while to your left and right years passed are shown, declining by half a century to a century and beyond. When you reach the bottom one must mentally brace themselves for the dark deep disturbing truth this, commonly used term great nation intentionally done to the descendants of African Americans that roam this earth, possibly including you.   

. . .

History in the Making chronicles the journey of four UW-Madison students, as they embarked on a bus trip with 42 other students and staff to Washington D.C. for the grand opening of the National Museum of African-American History & Culture. The weekend was filled with laughs, tears, hugs and vulnerability that allowed for a transformative experience for all that attended.

This week students will travel 13 plus hours to D.C. to participate in this culturally immersive experience to the the Museum of African American History and Culture, the Museum of the American Indian Museum and the National Museum of American History. In 2016, students made the same trek across the country to witness the grand opening of the the Museum of African American History and Culture. The selected students who are making the journey back will be moving past cultural competency and embracing cultural humility. During the weekend, Black and brown badgers will get to tour the Smithsonian museums, connect with UW alumni in D.C., and build coalitions in between in all.

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