Prestigious Location Chosen for the Site of the New National Museum of African American History

Lonnie G. Bunch, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

For more than 20 years, black leaders in the U.S. Congress have labored to establish the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Finally, three years ago, President Bush signed legislation authorizing the selection of a site for the museum, which will be operated by the Smithsonian Institution.

Last week the Smithsonian board of regents, headed by Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, approved a site on The Mall, across the street from the Washington Monument. Black leaders had warned that any site not on The Mall would be considered insulting to African Americans. Some black members of the advisory committee, which selected the site, said they would resign if a site on The Mall were not selected. Three members of the advisory committee have ties to the academic world: H. Patrick Swygert, president of Howard University, Michael L. Lomax, CEO of the United Negro College Fund, and Homer A. Neal, Samuel A. Goudsmit Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan.

The new, 350,000-square-foot museum will take 10 years to complete at an estimated cost of $500 million. Half of the cost will be paid by taxpayers and the remainder will be raised privately.

Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.