Senator Lankford Joins Vice President Pence and Rep. Walker to Honor J.C. Watts and Sam Brownback For Establishing Museum
WASHINGTON, DC – In honor of Black History Month, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Vice President Mike Pence, White House chief-of-staff Gen. John Kelly, Senator Joni Ernst, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), and Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James to tour and celebrate the National Museum of African American History and Culture and honor former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) and Ambassador Sam Brownback for their role in the creation of the museum. Today’s program was sponsored by Insight America and included a tour and remarks from Vice President Mike Pence.
“The National Museum of African American History and Culture is an incredible place that tells not only the African-American story, but America’s story,” said Lankford. “I’m grateful for the leadership of former Members of Congress J.C. Watts and Sam Brownback, as well as Congressman John Lewis and former Senator Max Cleland, for establishing this museum that honors the contributions of African-Americans to the development of this country. It is important to remember our history and not forget, because there is always something we can learn from the past as we look towards the future.
“The Tulsa Race Riot Exhibit at the museum is one that I would encourage all Americans to visit; it tells the sobering story of the worst race riot in American history. As the entire nation will turn to Tulsa in a few years, Oklahoma will be at the forefront of retelling the story of the Race Riot that occurred almost 100 years ago.”
The mission of the National Museum of African American History and Culture is to educate the public about American history through the African American lens and to educate the public about African-American history and culture. Since its opening in September 2016, millions have already visited the museum from all over the world.
In 2003, Watts and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) introduced the National Museum of African American History and Culture Act, a bill to establish the museum within the Smithsonian Institution. Former Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Max Cleland (D-GA) authored the bill in the Senate. It passed Congress and was signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 16, 2003. Watts retired from Congress in 2002, while Brownback went on to be Governor of Kansas, and was recently confirmed as the State Department Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom.
In December of 2016, Lankford toured the Museum’s Tulsa Race Riot exhibit with one of the museum’s historians, John W. Franklin, son of the late historian, author, and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, Dr. John Hope Franklin. In Tulsa, the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation is named in his honor. Lankford also serves on the bipartisan Tulsa Race Riot Centennial Commission.