2017 49c National Museum of African American History and Culture
Value: 49¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate- Forever
Issued: September 24, 2017
First Day City: Washington, DC
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 15,000,000 stamps
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the first such federal institution. Opened in 2016, the museum is a place of healing, capturing centuries of struggle and triumph.
While calls for such a museum date back to 1915, it was not approved until 2003. And even then, the museum did not yet have a collection. So, the museum’s curators launched a nationwide campaign asking for donations. In the end, a collection of about 40,000 artifacts was built by generous and supportive citizens.
A tour of the museum begins 70 feet below ground level, tracing history from slavery to emancipation. Exhibits include part of a slave ship, shackles, an auction block, bales of cotton, Harriet Tubman’s shawl, and Nat Turner’s bible. The next section features items from the segregation-era, including a “whites only” door, Rosa Parks’ dress, a prison tower, a Ku Klux Klan robe, and a segregated railroad car. There is also a Contemplative Court to reflect on the history inside.
The museum’s upper galleries honor African Americans in art, entertainment, and the military. Exhibits include military medals, Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves, Jesse Owens’ cleats, Althea Gibson’s racket, Jimi Hendrix’s vest, and Louis Armstrong’s trumpet. Together, these relics celebrate African American’s triumph over adversity.