The museum, which is being constructed on The Mall in Washington, D.C., will house collections of historic artifacts and will sponsor programs devoted to preserving the historic contributions of African Americans.
In his speech, President Obama noted that the original inspiration for the museum dates back to black veterans of the Union Army. The idea languished for many decades, but Congressman Lewis, an icon of the Civil Rights Movement, eventually shepherded the necessary legislation through Congress.
NBC News has posted an interview with Congressman Lewis and the museum's director, Lonnie Bunch. And other coverage of the groundbreaking event has been published at the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and NPR.
Photograph: President Obama speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony/Getty Images
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