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Public Enemy Performs At Historic Museum Opening
September 26th, 2016

Public Enemy joined a group of musicians, artists, celebrities, and politicians in Washington DC this weekend to celebrate the opening of the Smithsonian Institute's new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The new museum opened its doors to the public this weekend, following an opening ceremony that featured a speech by President Obama. “African American history is not somehow separate than the American story. It is not the underside of the American story. It is central to the American story,” Obama said. The museum is dedicated to giving visitors an "unvarnished" education on African American history, starting with the role African Americans played in the founding of the country, the struggle of slavery and The Civil War, all the way up to their influence on today's pop culture and modern society.

The museum was built after a long, fifteen year struggle in Congress to secure funding and a location. While some Conservative politicians expressed resistance to the idea of a federal museum dedicated solely to African American history, Congress eventually approved of the museum, thanks in part to a long, bipartisan campaign led by Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.), a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. Lewis, who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and other key Civil Rights leaders, had to pause frequently during his speech to hold back his emotion. "This place is more than a building. It is a dream come true," Lewis said.

“[The museum] shows our commitment to truth. A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them," former President George W. Bush, who also attended the event, said.

Several socially conscious bands, including Public Enemy, The Roots, and Living Colour, were invited to perform at a series of free concerts held throughout the weekend at the National Mall in DC to celebrate the opening of the museum. The festivities this weekend also included speeches, spoken word performances, dances, and other events showcasing African American culture and history.

In addition to performing at the opening ceremonies, Public Enemy is also showcased inside the museum itself, which features a large banner featuring the iconic Public Enemy logo, designed by Chuck D himself. If you're interested in checking the museum out yourself, you can plan your trip at the museum's official website here. Due to unprecedented demand, timed entry passes are sold out until January, but a limited number of passes will be available at the museum starting today.

By Michael Lacerna for PublicEnemy.com

Photo Credit: Mark Allan/Invision/AP