Nick Haines welcomes Tavis Smiley and Peter Yelorda to The Local Show to discuss the opening of the America I AM: The African American Imprint exhibit at Union Station. The exhibit will be on display from October 22 through January 8, 2012.
Here’s Tavis Smiley discussing America I Am before its opening in Los Angeles:
America I AM: The African American Imprint is a four-year touring museum exhibition that celebrates nearly 500 years of African American contributions to this country.
America I AM provides an opportunity for people from all walks of life to explore this uniquely American story. With the nation’s first African American president, America I AM endeavors to bring together Americans of all backgrounds to achieve a greater understanding of their shared culture and history.
Scholar W.E.B. Du Bois once wrote, “Would America have been America without her Negro people?”
To examine the answer to that question, AMERICA I AM: The African American Imprint is mounted as the broadest museum exhibition of its kind. An assembly of poignant artifacts representing nearly 500 years of American history, the exhibition will convey and celebrate the undeniable imprint African Americans have had on the country and the world.
Covering history from the arrival of Africans to the present day, the exhibition presents a collection of pivotal moments of courage, conviction, and creativity that have shaped the culture and society in which we live today in this nation and around the world.
The exhibition examines four themes in particular: economic, socio-political, cultural, and spiritual impact on America. These themes serve as recurring touch points throughout the galleries, as visitors discover how our experience as Americans has been shaped by African Americans throughout history.
The 15,000 square-foot exhibition is divided into twelve galleries, leading visitors through time on a journey from struggle to triumph.
Featuring more than 200 artifacts culled from every period of U.S. history, the exhibition includes objects, texts, religion, music, narration, and media. An interactive component of the exhibition allows visitors to leave their own video “imprints,” and this collection will grow throughout the life of the exhibition with the potential to become the largest recorded oral history project in U.S. history.