On July 16, 2011 the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum will launch its Grand Opening celebration of the new and permanent site of the African American Civil War Museum. The Museum will host three days of commemorative activities from July 16 –18 at the new location at 1925 Vermont Avenue NW, directly across from the African American Civil War Monument.
The theme of the celebration is ‘Civil War to Civil Rights - the Path to Racial Healing. On the Saturday the first day, the keynote speaker will be U.S. Rep John Lewis (D-Ga.) for the Conference on Racial Reconciliation in America. On the next day, there will be an all day film festival on different aspects of Civil War to Civil Rights. There will be a ribbon cutting and reception on Monday, the final day where D.C, Mayor Vincent Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton will be keynote speakers.
In 1992 the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation was incorporated and in 1998 Dr. Frank Smith and General Colin Powell lead the groundbreaking for the African American Civil War Memorial. In January 1999, the African American Civil War Museum opened to the public with photographs and documents helping visitors to understand the African American's heroic and largely unknown role in maintaining the Union and securing the blessing of liberty for all Americans. Today the new African American Civil War Museum showcases a new exhibit that reveals one of the best kept secrets in American history. In 2007 the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation and Museum published a three volume set that lists the 209,145 names drawn from official records of the Bureau of US Colored Troops (USCT) at the National Archives. These names are engraved on the Wall of Honor at the African American Civil War Memorial.
The Executive director of the African American Civil War Museum is Frank Smith, Ph.D. who served four elected terms with the Washington District Council where he laid the basic groundwork to establish a national memorial for African American troops who served in the Civil War. The curator of the museum is Harry Jones. For more information, visit afroamcivilwar.org.