Thousands Attend Opening of National Museum of African American History and Culture

Celebrities, politicians and civil rights leaders joined thousands on the National Mall this weekend for a three-day festival event to celebrate the newest Smithsonian Museum — the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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President Barack Obama wipes a tear from his cheek while speaking at the dedication ceremony for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Photography by Alan Karchmer for
The National Museum of African American History and Culture, in a photo provided by the architect.
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First lady Michelle Obama hugs former President George W. Bush during the dedication ceremony for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016.
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People sit on the Washington Monument grounds and watch a large video monitor at the dedication and opening ceremony of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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President Obama takes the stage to speak at the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Photo tweeted by @NMAAHC.
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U.S President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama join the Bonner family to ring the Freedom Bell during the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Congressman John Lewis is embraced by President Obama during the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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A Tuskegee Airman waves to the president during his remarks. Photo tweeted by @NMAAHC.
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Oprah Winfrey and actor Will Smith greet the crowd before quoting the work of African-American poets during the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Kayla Fish
Crowds line up to get into the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Only those who already have timed passes can go into the museum.
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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser greets Oprah Winfrey, one of many celebrities in town for the museum's dedication. Photo tweeted by @MurielBowser.
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U.S. President Barack Obama, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, former president George Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, participate in the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Sister and brother take in a historical moment on the grounds of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Ida Mae Hughes, 86, of Kansas City, Mo., raises her hands as President Barack Obama arrives at the dedication and opening ceremony of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Civil Rights legend Rep. John Lewis visits the display case that tells his story inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Photo tweeted by @NMAAHC.
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The Bonner family, representing generations of struggle for civil rights and decades of family growth, helped ring the historic Freedom Bell to open the museum. Photo tweeted by @NMAAHC.
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Kayla Fish
Thousands of people crowded onto the National Mall to watch the dedication on large monitors.
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Actor Will Smith, center, stops to greet performers for today's dedication ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Baseball hall-of-famer and legend Hank Aaron arrives for the museum's dedication ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives for the museum's dedication ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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Civil War re-enactors, the 3rd Regiment Infantry United States Colored Troops, remember the service of black Americans in the Civil War.
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President Barack Obama, with first lady Michelle Obama and Ruth Odom Bonner, center, ring the bell opening the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016.
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Actors Robert De Niro and Angela Bassett, on stage before today's dedication ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Rev. Jesse Jackson, with the Tuskegee Airmen, at the dedication ceremony of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Members of Howard University's marching band arrive for the dedication ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Rehearsal of the music program by the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets before President Obama attends the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the National Museum of African History and Culture, speaks during the dedication. Bunch worked for more than a decade to make the museum a reality.
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President Obama hugs former President George Bush after Bush spoke during the dedication. As president, Bush signed into law the legislation that led to the construction.
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Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis speaks during the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Later in the day, he visited his own display in the museum.
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