Walker and Sen. Lankford Co-Host Event Honoring Creation of Black History Museum with Vice President Pence
(Pictured above, left to right: Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Walker, Watts, Lankford, Cole James)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) today, in honor of Black History Month, joined U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James in co-hosting an event that honors former U.S. Representative J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) and Ambassador Sam Brownback for their role in the creation of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The program was sponsored by Insight America and included a tour and remarks from Vice President Mike Pence in the Oprah Winfrey Theater inside the museum.
In 2003, Watts and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) introduced the National Museum of African American History and Culture Act, a bill to establish the Museum within the Smithsonian Institution. Former Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Max Cleland (D-GA) authored the bill in the Senate. It passed Congress and was signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 16, 2003. Watts retired from Congress in 2002, while Brownback went on to be Governor of Kansas, and was recently confirmed as the State Department Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom.
The mission of the National Museum of African American History and Culture is to educate the public about American history through the African American lens and to educate the public about African-American history and culture. Since its opening in September 2016, millions have already visited the museum from all over the world.
"This museum is a powerful and moving presentation that tells the American story of struggle, perseverance, and faith," Walker said. "It does an amazing job of acknowledging the hardships as well as the many contributions African-Americans have made to our nation and vividly captures some of our most pivotal moments in a way that moves your heart in incredible ways. We are well-served by the work of former Members of Congress J.C. Watts and Sam Brownback, as well as the numerous individuals who worked hard to make this compelling testimony a reality."
“The National Museum of African American History and Culture is an incredible place that tells not only the African-American story but America’s story,” said Lankford. “I’m grateful for the leadership of former Members of Congress J.C. Watts and Sam Brownback, as well as Congressman John Lewis and former Senator Max Cleland, for establishing this museum that honors the contributions of African-Americans to the development of this country. It is important to remember our history and not forget because there is always something we can learn from the past as we look towards the future."
"This is African American History Month, and it is deeply humbling for me to stand before you today in the midst of this great national monument to the struggles, the sacrifices, and the triumphs of so many American heroes -– the National Museum of African American History and Culture," Pence said in his speech. You can read the full transcript of Pence's remarks here.
In 2016, Walker was one of the first to tour the museum before it became open to the public in September of that year. Walker also hosted Presidents and Chancellors from 89 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) at the museum and on Capitol Hill in an event called the HBCU Fly-In in February of 2017.