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Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) has been named a member of the National Museum of African American History and Culture Council. Becerra replaces Rep. Doris Matsui as the Board of Regents’ representative on the Council. He has been a member of the Smithsonian’s Board since 2005. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture.
The museum’s Council advises the Board of Regents on the planning and design of the museum; the acquisition and display of objects; and the administration, operation, maintenance and preservation of the museum. “I’m honored to have been asked by my colleagues on the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents to serve on the National Museum of African American History and Culture Council,” said Becerra. “I consider this one of the most rewarding assignments of my career. With the prospective opening of this national museum, the rich, vibrant and emotional story of America comes closer to life. I look forward to working ambitiously with my fellow Council members to make their dream a reality.”
“The work of this Council is of crucial importance now as we quicken the pace of acquiring truly extraordinary objects for the collections and move closer to breaking ground for construction,” said the museum’s founding director, Lonnie G. Bunch. “It is a distinct honor to have the guidance of Rep. Becerra—a distinguished public servant and a visionary—as we move forward in building a museum that will help all Americans find reconciliation and healing.”
The Council includes leaders from business, academia and the arts who will serve terms of one, two or three years. The Council members are as follows:
- Richard D. Parsons, co-chair of the Council, chairman, Citigroup
- Linda Johnson Rice, co-chair of the Council, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company Inc. (publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines)
- Laura W. Bush, former First Lady of the United States of America
- James Ireland Cash, retired professor and senior associate dean of Harvard Business School Publishing
- Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and CEO of American Express Co.
- Ann M. Fudge, retired chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Inc.
- James A. Johnson, vice chairman of Perseus L.L.C.
- Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television Inc.
- Quincy D. Jones, CEO of Quincy Jones Productions Inc.
- Ann Dibble Jordan, executive committee member, National Symphony Orchestra
- Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund • Brian T. Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America
- Homer Alfred Neal, director, University of Michigan Atlas Project and professor of physics
- E. Stanley O’Neal, former chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.
- Samuel J. Palmisano, chairman and CEO of IBM Corp.
- Gen. Colin L. Powell, former Secretary of State
- Franklin D. Raines, former chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae
- Ruth J. Simmons, president, Brown University
- Gregg W. Steinhafel, chair, CEO and president of Target
- H. Patrick Swygert, president emeritus of Howard University
- Anthony Welters, executive vice president of United Health Group
- Oprah Winfrey, chairman of Harpo Inc.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by an Act of Congress in 2003 and is scheduled for completion in 2015—a year that marks key moments in American history such as the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil war, the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery and the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. As the 19th Smithsonian Institution museum, NMAAHC will be built on a five-acre tract of land adjacent to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. During the pre-building phase, the museum is producing publications, hosting public programs, assembling collections and presenting exhibitions in its gallery at the National Museum of American History and travelling exhibitions at museums across the country.
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