National Building Museum

Our mission is to advance the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives.

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution devoted to the history and impact of the built environment. We do this by telling the stories of architecture, engineering, and design. As one of the most family-friendly, awe-inspiring spots in Washington, D.C., we welcome visitors from around the world to our exhibitions, public programs, and festivals. Located just four blocks from the National Mall, the Museum occupies a magnificent building with a soaring Great Hall, colossal 75-foot-tall Corinthian columns, and a 1,200-foot terra cotta frieze.

Last year the architectural team of Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup was chosen to design the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to be located on the National Mall. NMAAHC Director Lonnie G. Bunch III shares the vision for the new building, followed by a discussion with David Adjaye, RIBA, and Philip Freelon, FAIA, LEED AP from the winning design team.  Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. 1.5 LU HSW (AIA)

401 F Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

Brandon Brooks Has More Sense than the Adults and Officer in that Neighborhood

There were a lot of moronic adults stating that the officer who physically assaulted a 14 year girl and was randomly arresting Black teens at the pool party was justified. Many of them believed more cops were needed for 7 people who supposedly was trespassing, a brief altercation between a mother/daughter and loud music during the day. You also had two White men seemingly protecting the police officer who assaulted the 14 year old girl, from the dangerous non-threatening Black teens from a Middle Class neighborhood. Although Middle class for Black Americans doesn’t provide the same security. 15 year old Brandon Brooks put the officer and the rest of the community to shame with his account.

This isn’t new; White society has always made simple acts from Black individuals or a group seem threatening, as police are called for frivolous actions like walking in the cold with ones hands in his/her pockets. It is ironic that White society has created this image of the pathology of violence by Black Americans, when systemically they are the ones committing it. Yes, I use the word ‘They’, though many Whites aren’t racist, many still support the actions of institutions that are, and many hold racial biases knowingly or unknowingly.

Stating the facts of this reality doesn’t mean Black Americans are off the hook as well, since many allow themselves to perpetuate these falsehood against their own ethnic group. Which is why you see some making excuses for White societies inaction or self internalizes negative beliefs against people who look like them.

And let us not forget…………..

Black Splash Exhibit 

Of the many obstacles that Black swimming culture still faces, perhaps the most daunting, is the very notion that it does not exist: that a Black person enjoying the water is anomalous. Because, in fact, it has existed all along. Photo: Courtesy 12 Miles North

In the great and varied canon of American racial stereotypes, there is a highly detailed list of segregated sports.

Basketball, for instance, is a “Black” sport. Hockey, on the other hand, is for Whites. Surfing falls firmly into the category of “white sport,” somewhere between mountaineering and golf. It could be argued that there is no “whiter” sport in the world that was originally invented by non-whites. There are many ways to illustrate this, but let’s leave it here: It is the only sport since the 1936 summer Olympics in which the 2009 world champion, Mick Fanning, can say something overtly anti-Semitic to a reporter and the outlet that reports the statement will be blamed for bad taste.

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At their first encounter with sub-Sahara Africans in the 1400’s, Europeans explorers found a culturally aquatic people who learned to swim in the coastal and river villages of west Africa, both men and women, as soon as they could walk. For centuries, Africans were regarded as the world’s greatest swimmers and enslaved African swimmers and divers created enormous wealth for their masters by harvesting pearls, recovering sunken treasures a working in and around the water. Nineteenth and Twentieth Century racism excised this rich aquatic legacy from Black Culture with these tragic consequences. Today, as many as 80% of African Americans are not competent and comfortable swimmers, and African Americans are 3 to 4 times more likely to drown than whites. Celebrate Black History Month with the International Swimming Hall of Fame by learning about the rich history and inspirational stories of Black Swimmers of the past, present and future.

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The Blind African Slave or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace, As Told to Benjamin F. Prentiss, Esq.

2004, Edited and with an introduction by Kari J. Winter. University of Wisconsin Press

In 1810 in St. Albans, Vermont, a small town near the Canadian border, a narrative of slavery was published by an obscure printer. Entitled The Blind African Slave or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace, it was greeted with no fanfare, and it has remained for nearly two hundred years a faint spectre in our cultural memory.

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David Walker: One of the Greatest Appeals Ever Written

David Walker and Maria Stewart (Maria will be touched upon in a separate piece) was the precursor to Black nationalism and unity. David expressed how he felt about both the Republican and Democratic party; they didn’t care about the plight of African Americans. He felt that people of African descent had a right to be treated as equals under the law and deserved respect for building The United States of America. It wasn’t just African Americans free-labor that propelled the U.S into the forefront, but their ingenuity as well. Creating crops like rice, knowing how to work the land more efficiently than their European counter-parts. The few who came over as free peoples and the vast majority who came over as slaves brought needed skills with them. Skills that if left absent would have made America a footnote in history.

This invigorated freedom fighting spirit is what made David Walker public enemy number one in the U.S, because he didn’t sugarcoat anything to make it more palatable to White society.

People have to comprehend that the Puritan work ethic as Martin Luther King eloquently stated, didn’t build America; Black Americans did. Free Black Americans were taxed higher than any other ethnic group. (Which still lives on today in many areas of the U.S like Ferguson). Every facet within Black culture was marginalized, while being used as profit at the same time.

People of African descent did not sit back to leave their fate within the hands of White society. Unlike popular belief, the major reason why slavery was abolished was due to the tenacity of African Americans/Caribbean/South America. From the slave revolts, to the creation of Abolitionist, and to their uncompromising integrity.

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