U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the dedication of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, U.S., September 24, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
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President Barack Obama heralded Saturday the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, a long-awaited institution dedicated to the many threads of black suffering and triumph in the United States.The Smithsonian's 19th and latest addition to its sprawling museum and research complex is the first national museum tasked with documenting the uncomfortable truths of the country's systematic oppression of black people, while also honoring the integral role of African-American culture.After Obama declared the museum "open to the world," it was she -- stooped in stature but smiling broadly -- who tugged on a rope to ring an antique bell from an historic black church, sealing the inauguration.Elected in a wave of optimism in 2008, Obama pledged to unify, often repeating that he is not the president of black Americans but of all Americans.Obama's Saturday address to open the museum came amid these ever-heightening tensions, as national outrage grows over the spate of deaths of black men at the hands of police, prompting mass protests.
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