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In Black History Month’s final week, the Smithsonian will break ground on a new branch of history that will immortalize the history of struggle and achievement of the country’s black community. Along with the recent addition of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, this $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will open in the fall of 2015 and bring even more diversity to the historical sites that draw millions of visitors to Washington DC each year.

Black Voice News reports that the NMAAHC is the Smithsonian’s 19th museum and the only national museum dedicated to telling the story of African American culture and history. Slated to sit next to the Washington Monument, it will also mark another accomplishment as the first green building on the National Mall.

The NMAAHC collection will combine almost 10,000 items from art, photographs and manuscripts all drawn from the slave trade to the civil rights era to present day.  According to Bloomberg, a sales slip relegating a young woman to slavery is among the items on display. Another artifact that will also be on display is a French Croix de Guerre received by a World War I “Harlem Hellfighter,” who could only fight for the US as a French soldier.

On its south side, the museum will boast a veranda, reminiscent of the porch so many southern blacks sat on to discuss life and fellowship with family and friends. The sloping columns of bronze metalwork represents motifs that originate from Youba motifs. Chief designer David Adjaye relays that angled windows will reveal the slave-owning Thomas Jefferson’s pavilion nearby, while another window faces the Lincoln Memorial where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. famously gave his “I Had a Dream” speech.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama will give remarks at the NMAAHC’s groundbreaking ceremony. While the event is invitation only, it will be available on webcast at: http://nmaahc.si.edu/Events/Groundbreaking.

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