The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) was established in 2003 by an act of Congress making it the nineteenth museum of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum represents a national initiative of profound cultural importance enabling visitors to remember and celebrate the African American experience, both as a story of a nation’s people and as a lens into what it means to be an American. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the museum will be located on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. During the pre-building phase, the museum exists through an array of public events, traveling exhibitions, and educational programs and workshops. It is also presenting exhibitions in its own gallery at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History as well as collaborating with major organizations, such as Smithsonian Folkways for the African American Legacy Recordings series and the Library of Congress to record the stories of civil rights activists.
NMAAHC is pleased to continue its collaboration with the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in producing Rhythm and Blues: Tell It Like It Is for the 2011 Folklife Festival. Following the Festival’s tradition of celebrating diverse cultures and NMAAHC’s mandate to explore the American experience through African American history and culture, Tell It Like It Is celebrates the birth of rhythm and blues, its diverse geographical roots, its role as a voice of Black communities, and its overwhelming influence on American popular music.