“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. And then we’ll go to the Lincoln Memorial. And we’ll take in a view atop the Washington Monument. And together we’ll learn about ourselves—as Americans. Our sufferings, our delights, and our triumphs. We’re better because we better grasp the truth. We’ll walk away that much more in love with this country—the only place on Earth where this story could have unfolded.“ —President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama reflect on the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“They were gunning the motorcycles. There were these little backfires. There was one noise like that. I thought it was a backfire…” - Jackie Kennedy, 1963.

“This national museum helps tell a fuller, richer story of who we are. It helps us better understand the lives, yes of the President, but also the slave. The industrialist but also the porter. The keeper of the status quo but also the activist seeking to overthrow that status quo. The teacher, or the cook, alongside the statesman. And by knowing this other story, we better understand ourselves and each other. It binds us together. It reaffirms that all of us are America.” —President Obama. Along with four generations of the Bonner family—a family whose history weaves from slavery to Reconstruction to Jim Crow to the present day—the President and First Lady Michelle Obama rang the bell of one of the oldest black churches in America to mark the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.