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President Obama calls African American museum 'newest American icon'

By
Sarah Mulé
President Barack Obama speaks at the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on Saturday in Washington, D.C. Pool Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI
President Barack Obama speaks at the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on Saturday in Washington, D.C. Pool Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama said the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture is "the newest American icon" during his weekly address Saturday.

The museum opened more than 100 years after the idea was first considered and 13 years after Congress authorized its construction.

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Speakers at the dedication ceremony Saturday included Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Robert DeNiro, Angela Bassett and former president George W. Bush, who signed off on the project in 2003, and a performance from Stevie Wonder.

RELATED Previewing the National Museum of African American History & Culture

"This museum tells a story of America that hasn't always taken a front seat in our national narrative," Obama said.

"[The museum] embraces the patriotic recognition that America is a constant work in progress that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is within our collective power to align this nation with the high ideals of our founding," he said.

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Concerts Saturday and Sunday will feature performances from Living Colour, Public Enemy, The Roots and Meshell Ndegeocello.

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