Changing America (SU)

“The worst enemy is not hatred but silence.”
Non-violence and peace protests can be more powerful than violence.”

By S.U.

Background Information
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. In this museum we can experience how it was like to be an African American in the past in America. On the homepage of the museum there is sentence that I think explains all about the museum, so I would like to share it. It said that the museum “should be a place of meaning, of memory, of reflection, of laughter, and of hope. It should be a beacon that reminds us of what we were; what challenges we still face; and point us towards what we can become.”

Our Experience
We went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture and had a guided tour by John W. Franklin, the Senior Manager of the Office of External Affairs. John first handed out to us three kinds of a world map, each showing the principal slave and trade route, number of captives in 1501 to 1867 and from 1501 to 1900. We then went through a gallery which was divided into two parts “150 years ago” and “50 years ago”. They both showed how the black suffered from slavery and discrimination but protested and gained freedom. After that, we saw a performance which was an interactive system, where the man asked us some question and we answered to it.

The Big Ideas
The previous day, we saw at the Holocaust Museum about a man who quoted that because he remained silent and didn’t speak out when the Holocaust was happening and many people were taken away around him, no one spoke out for him when he was taken away. We came to the museum the next day so we were even more touched by the African Americans people’s action towards the way they were treated despite the difficulties they were facing in their daily lives. How they spoke out that the way they were being treated wasn’t right. They gained freedom because they spoke out. This is why we got the big idea “the worst enemy is not hatred but silence.” Coming up with this big idea, I thought that, if I find out something that is not right, I should be the one who faces it and acts against it.

The second big idea was, “non-violence and peace protests can be more powerful than violence”. The white people were violent against the African Americans, but the African Americans did not fight against back being violent. To give an example, there were four people who stayed in a lunch counter for about four months, where the whites treated them in a horrible way. We were surprised by the African American’s mentality; there must have been full of hatred towards the whites inside their heart, and would have wanted to vent their anger towards the whites. But they knew what they really had to do and kept calm and waited and waited until the time they gained freedom came.