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Happy Father’s Day

17 Jun

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Presidents’ Day 2018

19 Feb

I am a museum lover. Before the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery was my favorite Smithsonian museum. It’s now my second museum. When Barack Obama won the 2008 election, I thought that he will be included in the pantheon of American Presidents.

President Obama’s portrait was unveiled last week.

Barack Obama - NPG

In an email, Obama wrote:

Today, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald became the first black artists to create official, Smithsonian-commissioned portraits of a former President and First Lady.

And Michelle and I joined our distinguished predecessors and thousands of our fellow Americans on the walls of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

To call this experience humbling would be an understatement.

That’s because, as a former president, when you choose an artist to describe your likeness, you have the opportunity to shape, quite literally, how someone sees the office of the American presidency. And how they might see themselves in that presidency.

[…]

The arts have always been central to the American experience. They provoke thought, challenge our assumptions, and shape how we define our narrative as a country.

Thanks to Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, generations of Americans — and young people from all around the world — will visit the National Portrait Gallery and see this country through a new lens. These works upend the notion that there are worlds where African Americans belong and worlds where we don’t. And that’s something Michelle and I hope we contributed to over the eight years we were so privileged to serve you from the White House.

Michelle Obama’s portrait will join the collection of First Ladies.

Michelle Obama - NPG

In case you missed it, check out “Obama Portrait Unveiling at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.”

Indigenous Peoples Day 2017

9 Oct

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a federal holiday. Eighty years later, cities across the country are telling the explorer who never set foot in North America to get lost.

Christopher Columbus Four Voyages

From Bangor, Maine to Berkeley, California, Columbus Day has been replaced with Indigenous Peoples Day, a celebration of the millions of Indigenous Americans who were here long before Christopher Columbus sat sail from Spain.

Indigenous Peoples Day 2017
Given the givens, former President Barack Obama’s 2016 proclamation may be the last White House acknowledgment of the devastation inflicted on those who came before Columbus:

[W]e must also acknowledge the pain and suffering reflected in the stories of Native Americans who had long resided on this land prior to the arrival of European newcomers. The past we share is marked by too many broken promises, as well as violence, deprivation, and disease.

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4th of July 2017

3 Jul

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