President Barack Obama is due to open Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington DC.
The $540 million museum would “tell a story of America that hasn’t always taken a front seat”, President Obama said.
On September 23, the president said it would also educate Americans about the history of the racial tensions seen during protests over police killings of black men.
The latest have engulfed two cities, Charlotte and Tulsa.
“As a people, we’ve rightfully passed on the tales of the giants who built this country,” Barack Obama said during his weekly address to the American people.
“But too often, willfull or not, we’ve chosen to gloss over or ignore entirely the experience of millions upon millions of others.”
He added: “And so it is entirely fitting that we tell this story on our National Mall, the same place we tell the stories of [President George] Washington and [President Thomas] Jefferson and our independence.”
The bronze-colored museum, designed by British architect David Adjaye, is located on Washington’s National Mall – not far from the White House.
The museum contains 36,000 items, ranging from trade goods used to buy slaves in Africa to a segregated railway car from the 1920s and a red Cadillac convertible belonging to rock’n’roll pioneer Chuck Berry.
Black veterans of the US Civil War first proposed an African-American museum in 1915. Congress approved its creation in 2003, and construction of the 37,200 sq m building took almost four years.
The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture ‘s opening is being celebrated with three days of festivities, including concerts by artists such as rap group Public Enemy and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.