A Month to Celebrate – Lonnie G. Bunch III, Founding Director of the NMAAHC

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.

A Page From Our American Story

February is Black History Month, and as this month comes to a close, it is a reminder to reflect on the many ways African Americans have influenced, improved and shaped our country. It is a month to honor and celebrate the ever-unfolding African American story.

The roots of Black History Month go back to 1926 when noted historian, Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), the son of former slaves, launched the first observance of Negro History Week in February of that year. It is said that he chose February because the month contained the birthday of Abraham Lincoln (the 12th) and the accepted birthday of Frederick Douglass (the 14th). His goal was to bring together historians, business leaders, educators, church leaders, and people from all walks of life in a week-long celebration of the accomplishments of blacks in the United States.

Dr. Woodson dedicated his life to documenting and preserving African American history and culture and is often called the “father of black history.” In 1915, he created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and founded the Journal of Negro History soon after. What began as Negro History Week in 1926 has been celebrated every year since and eventually became Black History Month in 1976.

Since then, Black History Month has been a treasured time to celebrate African Americans who have struggled, sacrificed, and triumphed throughout history to make our country what it is today.

And this year, the National Museum of African American History and Culture is proud to commemorate Black History Month in our very own iconic building on the National Mall, where we have welcomed more than one million visitorssince opening in September.

While the museum exists to celebrate the contributions of African Americans all year round, it has marked Black History Month with numerous special events and programs to further explore and showcase African American history and culture.

Among this month’s offerings, the museum held an exclusive screening of I’m Not Your Negro, a compelling new documentary on literary icon James Baldwin; a curator-led talk giving a “Behind the Scenes” look at our Slavery and Freedom exhibition; special offerings in our Sweet Home Café from award-winning African American chefs; and a musical performance of works by esteemed African American classical music composers.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is honored to uphold the legacy and vision of Carter G. Woodson. Our museum is dedicated to serve the nation as the most comprehensive cultural destination to explore, document and showcase the African American story in celebration of Black History Month—and every month, for generations to come.

Please visit our website for information about upcoming events and programs.

All the best,
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Lonnie G. Bunch III
Founding Director
P.S. Your support has made this Museum possible. I hope you will consider making a donation today, or joining us as a Charter Member.

To read past Our American Stories, visit our archives.

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Steve Bannon – judge, jury and executioner

Trump appointed white supremacist Steve Bannon to the powerful National Security Council that can put people on “kill lists.”

Congress has the power to stop this. Demand they immediately remove Steve Bannon from the National Security Council!

Take the pledge.


Trump has appointed his extreme white supremacist advisor, Steve Bannon, to the powerful National Security Council (NSC). Among other secretive duties, the NSC creates “kill lists” that even contain U.S. citizens.1

Trump has effectively put a white supremacist in charge of who the U.S. government will assassinate.

Tell Congress: No white supremacists on Trump’s National Security Council!

Trump’s executive order giving Steve Bannon a seat on the National Security Council’s Principals Committee is not just unprecedented and dangerous, it’s also illegal.2 Even Republican members of Congress are shocked about Bannon’s placement on the NSC.3 And just this weekend, the spokesperson for the NSC resigned in opposition to Bannon’s “disturbing” appointment.4

Congress created the National Security Council, so they have the power to stop Bannon from sitting on the council. Now is a moment for all members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to choose a side. Will they trust our national security to a white nationalist with a reckless, racist, apocalyptic worldview, or will they stand up and fight back?

Tell Congress to do their job: No white supremacists on the National Security Council!

Before joining Trump’s team, Steve Bannon was in charge of Breitbart, an extreme-right white nationalist propaganda machine. Under his leadership, Breitbart actively published racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, and misogynistic content. Bannon’s beliefs and actions are so alarming that even Glenn Beck has pointed out Bannon’s clear white nationalist ties and called him “a terrifying man.”5

Bannon believes in the dangerous lie that the U.S. is at war with Islam and that America should be the center of a new movement of right-wing populism centering on white nationalism.6 He’s already worked to make this nightmare a reality by drafting the Muslim ban for Trump and openly pushing racist, sexist, and homophobic policies.

Bannon is so extreme, that many say he is the most unhinged Trump political operative. Dangerous political operatives have no place in deciding the national security of our country.

Tell Congress – Don’t let a white nationalist control our national security!

No president’s political advisor has ever been a principal member of the NSC. The NSC Principals Committee is the one place where the Cabinet secretaries and top military and intelligence officials meet to discuss national-security crises, events, and policies to come up with a plan of action — or to present a set of options for the president to approve or reject. The National Security Council is supposed to be made up of career military and intelligence officials who advise the president, not political advisors like Bannon.

By elevating Bannon and downgrading the roles of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence, Trump has put politics and white supremacy over the national security advice of his top military and intelligence advisers.

Congress cannot allow a dangerous white supremacist to drive our national security policy. It has the legislative power to stop Bannon. It’s time for Republicans and Democrats to pick a side.

Tell Congress – Remove Steve Bannon from the National Security Council

Until justice is real,

— Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Evan, Jade, Anika, Corina, the rest of the Color Of Change team.


1. “Secret panel can put Americans on “kill list’,” Reuters, October 5, 2011. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7498?t=8&akid=7052.1174326.6lufLl

2. “Steve Bannon’s Presence on the National Security Council Is Not Just Terrible. It’s Illegal.,” Slate, February 1, 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7499?t=10&akid=7052.1174326.6lufLl

3. “Bannon’s power puts Republicans on edge,” The Hill, February 1, 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7500?t=12&akid=7052.1174326.6lufLl

4. “National Security Council Spokesman Resigns Over Donald Trump’s ‘Disturbing’ Actions,” Huffington Post, February 21, 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7501?t=14&akid=7052.1174326.6lufLl

5. “Glenn Beck: Steve Bannon ‘Is A Terrifying Man’,” Right Wing Watch, November 14, 2016. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7502?t=16&akid=7052.1174326.6lufLl

6. “Steve Bannon Believes The Apocalypse Is Coming And War Is Inevitable,” Huffington Post, February 8, 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7503?t=18&akid=7052.1174326.6lufLl

Stop the Corporate Power Grab in Congress

Tell Congress to reject these anti-democratic bills: Sign the petition today!

Republican leaders in Congress and President Trump are pushing dangerous legislation to put corporate interests ahead of America’s interests. Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican House members have already passed three dangerous bills to help Trump further his plan to dismantle our democratic institutions—and now this legislation is headed to the Senate. If passed, these bills would result in thousands of premature deaths in the United States by rolling back vital health safeguards.

We need your help to stop these anti-democratic bills before Trump signs them into law.

Add your name to this petition urging the Senate to reject three bills:

(1) The Regulatory Accountability Act;

(2) The REINS Act; and

(3) The Midnight Rules Relief Act.


These bills set a dangerous precedent to put corporate interests above community health and welfare:

  • The Regulatory Accountability Act, or RAA, makes it easier for corporations to challenge public safety rules, adds dozens of additional steps for agencies to form safeguards, and—by making agencies select the cheapest option, rather than the best option—puts corporate profit above clean water, clean air, child safety standards, and other important protections.
  • The REINS Act prevents any major agency rule from going into effect until both chambers of Congress affirmatively approve it within 70 days. Members of Congress do not have to be accountable for striking public health safeguards; they can simply sit on their hands, ignore public input and agency expertise, and ultimately kill efforts to hold corporate interests accountable for their actions to American families.
  • The Midnight Rules Relief Act changes the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow Congress to reject all public protections finalized near the end of presidential terms, rather than reviewing them one at a time—as is currently allowed by law. This scorched earth approach ignores agency expertise and accountability, and allows Congress to prevent agencies from publishing similar safeguards ever again.

If these bills are signed into law, the democratic process through which our nation establishes basic protections against corporate abuse—a process in which citizens, stakeholders, and experts have a voice—would all but vanish. Click here to sign a petition that calls on United States Senators to put community health and safety above corporate interests.

Don’t be forced into sharing your salary history.


Has this ever happened to you?

You apply for a job and learn you must share your salary history. What might seem like an innocent request is just one more reason why women and people of color often don’t receive equal pay.

Too many employers base salary offers on a candidate’s previous pay — which is often lower for women compared to their male counterparts because of the wage gap. So even if a woman leaves a job because she’s being paid unfairly, that lower salary will continue to haunt her in her new job. And over time, those lower salaries add up to huge losses that affect her family’s financial well-being and ultimately her retirement.

That’s why Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, along with other equal pay champions in the House, just introduced a bill that would kick this outdated practice to the curb once and for all.

Tell Your Representative to Support the Pay Equity for All Act of 2016.


This commonsense bill would prohibit employers from asking job candidates about salary history. The bill would authorize the Department of Labor to fine employers who violate the law. Prospective or current employees would also be able to sue an employer who violated the law and obtain damages.

Will you take two minutes to send a message in support of this bill?

Women and people of color are losing monumental amounts of money because of unfair pay practices that result in pay discrimination following them from job to job. While stopping employers from asking about salary history won’t completely close the wage gap, it’s a huge step in the right direction. And since the wage gap has barely budged in more than a decade, we need to do everything we can to close it.

Send a message to your Representative and help us close the wage gap!

Thank you for joining us and continuing to fight for equal pay.

Maya Raghu
Director of Workplace Equality
National Women’s Law Center