In the past few years, America has stepped up its efforts to remove monuments to white supremacy or rename them for individuals who are actually worthy of being honored. Across the country, statues glorifying Confederate generals have come down and the Naming Commission, created only last year, has already issued recommendations to rename Army bases for people who “exemplify our U.S. military and national values.”
Beyond these efforts, brand-new testaments to America’s great diversity are getting created. This month, President Joe Biden signed H.R. 3525 into law, which establishes a Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. In his remarks, Biden called the development “long overdue,” noting that “Asian American, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders have literally shaped the history and the contours of this country.” Vice President Kamala Harris added that “[t]o teach this history is to help all of us as Americans understand where we come from.”
Other national museums that showcase America’s rich diversity are inching even closer to reality. This week, the Smithsonian announced four possible locations for two other museums in the pipeline—the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. These museums will open after decades of work and over objections from haters such as Sen. Mike Lee, who in 2020 claimed the museums’ creation “weaponizes diversity,” insisting that the “last thing we need is to further divide an already divided nation.”
The most recent Smithsonian Institution museum to open was the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Established in 2003, this museum opened in 2016 after a century-long effort. Speaking at the dedication, President Barack Obama reminded us why these museums are so important. “[H]opefully, this museum can help us talk to each other and more importantly, listen to each other—and most importantly, see each other.” Indeed, America’s history is complicated and inspiring; it is a truth that must be told.