Alexander Urges Smithsonian Leaders to Look to Tennessee in Shaping African-American History Museum

Memphis Civil Rights Museum, Haley House Offer Powerful Visions

Posted on April 11, 2007

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander today urged leaders of the Smithsonian Institution to study two key Tennessee institutions as it plans for the development of the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture. “The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis celebrates the victories of that movement in guaranteeing equal rights to all American citizens regardless of skin color. It sits in the place where Martin Luther King was killed. One can’t help but be moved when visiting there,” Alexander told several members of the Smithsonian’s leadership testifying before the Senate Rules Committee. “The Alex Haley House and Museum in Henning is the place where Alex Haley grew up learning the stories that would become Roots,” he added. “We buried my friend Alex there 15 years ago now. On his tombstone, he asked for this phrase to be engraved: ‘Find the good and praise it.’ It’s a phrase I try to live by in my work as a United States Senator. It’s a vision that I hope will carry through to this new museum.” Alexander is a member of the Senate Rules Committee and a former U.S. Secretary of Education.