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October 05, 2016

Aguilar and San Bernardino Community Members Attend Opening of Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Last month, Rep. Pete Aguilar joined Hardy and Sonietta Brown of San Bernardino for the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The opening ceremony on Saturday, September 24th included speeches by President Barack Obama and civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis. Ruth Bonners, the daughter of a former slave, rang the Freedom Bell with her granddaughter, the president and the first lady. The Freedom Bell is from the Williamsburg First Baptist Church and is believed to be the first black Baptist church in the United States, founded in 1776.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to bear witness to such a historic event. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is a sobering and emotional reflection of the African American experience,” said Rep. Aguilar. He added, “I’m glad to have been able to attend the opening ceremony and visit the museum with Hardy and Sonietta, and hope more Inland Empire residents will travel to our nation’s capital to do the same.”

Hardy Brown II, a small business owner in San Bernardino and Trustee on the San Bernardino County Board of Education, reflected, “This is one of the historical highlights of my life journey, to learn more about the amazing resilience of African Americans and our contributions in the United States of America.”

The Smithsonian Institution includes 19 museums and galleries, nine research facilities and the National Zoological Park. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the newest museum, and explores the culture, legacy and history of African American life. Due to the high number of visitors, passes are required to visit the museum. For those planning trips in October, November or December, same day in-person passes are available on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 9:15AM. Visitors are limited to 4 passes per person. For those planning trips in January, February or March, advanced passes can be accessed here. Additional ticketing information can be found here.

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