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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

National Geographic Museum Exhibit - "America I AM: The African American Imprint"

February 24, 2011

Date: 02/24/2011 Location: Washington, DC Description: Washington Foreign Press Center tour to the National Geographic Exhibit - ''America I AM:  The African American Imprint.'' - State Dept Image

February 24, 2011, Washington, DC.
Contact: Washington Foreign Press Center Media Relations Officer Alison Mann
Telephone: 202-504-6362; email: 

As part of a continuing series of cultural and historical tours celebrating Black History Month, the Foreign Press Center accompanied foreign journalists from Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, and France to an in-depth behind the scenes tour of “America I AM: The African American Imprint,” at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC. “America I AM” is an award winning touring exhibition conceived and presented by renowned broadcaster Tavis Smiley. The exhibition displays more than 200 artifacts, celebrating nearly 500 years of African American contributions to the United States.

Susan Norton, the director of the National Geographic Museum guided the journalists through the exhibit, explaining how the artifacts illustrated the chronological history of Africans in the Americas, from the slave trade to the present. Journalists were struck by the historical poignancy of the artifacts; in particular, original doors from a slave prison in Ghana, clothing from the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the prison bench Martin Luther King Jr. sat on in the Birmingham jail, Rosa Parks’s arrest record, a Ku Klux Klan robe, “Whites Only” signage from the Jim Crow era, uniforms worn by black soldiers in the Civil War, Muhammad Ali’s boxing robe, and Prince’s purple guitar from Superbowl 2011.

The journalists in attendance gained a significant appreciation for the African American struggle for equality and justice after a tour of this uplifting exhibit.