Senate Passes African American Museum Bill

Posted June 25, 2003 at 2:43pm

The goal of establishing a National Museum of African American History and Culture within the Smithsonian Institution got a boost this week when the Senate passed legislation Monday authorizing the museum’s creation.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who authored the Senate legislation, heralded the vote as a major step toward the comprehensive telling of the American narrative.

“This museum will tell the story of human struggle, promise and progress in America,” Brownback said in a statement.

The bill includes an initial appropriation of $17 million to kick-start the creation of a museum council, as well as other rudimentary aspects of the museum itself.

The legislation also establishes an Office of Education and Liaison Programs within the museum to promote the study of black history and culture in America through outreach programs and interaction with other educational institutions.

A companion bill, introduced by longtime museum backer Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), is currently pending in the House. The House Administration Committee will hold a hearing on the legislation early next month.

— Bree Hocking