Obama calls black museum symbol for all Americans

Political and cultural figures joined Barack Obama to break ground for a new museum celebrating black Americans
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Political and cultural figures joined to break ground for a new museum celebrating black Americans on Wednesday, with President Barack Obama calling it a symbol of Americans' shared history. (Getty Images)
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The $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture will be the only national museum devoted solely to black life, art, history and culture. (Getty Images)
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Obama, the first black president, said the museum should be seen not as a memorial to black Americans' often-tragic history but as a reminder "that each of us is made in God's image." (AFP/Getty Images)
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Obama was joined by a dignitaries including former first lady Laura Bush and Democratic Representative John Lewis of Georgia, a veteran of 1960s civil rights campaigns who spearheaded creation of the museum.(Getty Images)
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Hosted by actress Phylicia Rashad, the ceremony included performances by jazz pianist Jason Moran, opera singers Denyce Graves and Thomas Hampson, and the Heritage Signature Chorale.(Getty Images)
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The seven-level museum will be between the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History. It is the culmination of efforts begun by black Civil War soldiers to get a monument.(Getty Images)
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The museum, the 19th in the Smithsonian system, will have most of its 374,000 square feet underground, and it is expected to draw 3 million to 3.5 million visitors a year. (Getty Images)
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Exhibits will include a Jim Crow-era segregated railroad car, slave shackles, galleries devoted to military and sports history, and a trumpet owned by jazz great Louis Armstrong. (AFP/Getty Images)