What happened last week in Charlotte in the aftermath of a black man being shot by police wasn’t a protest, it was a riot.
Riots are defined by a line of demarcation that neither side dares cross. We’ve seen it a million times: shield-wielding police in riot garb on one side and screaming, rock-throwing mobs on the other.
Fear, hatred and polarization is the result; a black and blue battle that’s leaving an indelible bruise on our country.
Four hundred miles to the north of Charlotte on Saturday, in our nation’s capital, something strikingly different was unveiled: a bridge.
That’s what the National Museum of African American History and Culture is, a bridge that connects past to present and black to white. It is 400,000 square feet that trace the history of African-Americans vertically, from below the ground where the depths of slavery and darkness reigned, to the brightness at the top of the museum which highlights the achievements of black Americans in art, sport and culture.
The effort to build the museum took over 100 years of persistence but came to pass at the constant urging of Congressman John Lewis, who achieved his success under the signature of President George W. Bush.
Consider this: The museum itself opens a national conversation that allows all sides to revisit the 400-year journey of black people in America. Whatever your race you’ll be both disturbed and inspired by what you see through this lens on American history. And out of the experience, you’ll be equipped to join the conversation that Americans must have, lest we see more Charlottes and Fergusons in the future.
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