WASHINGTON D.C. (WCSC) - In the shadow of the Washington Monument, tens of thousands gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Dr. Jeniqua Duncan was thrilled to be one of the first to experience the new museum.
"There's just so much here and it not only talks about the struggle of African Americans but the celebrations and the contributions that we've made not only to this nation but to this world," she said.
Duncan's family provided the museum with some special belongings of her grandfather, Esau Jenkins.
Jenkins was a civil rights leader from Charleston County, who encouraged voter registration and education on the sea islands.
William Casey is Jenkins' great-grandson.
He says the museum represents a broad spectrum of the black experience in America and elicits strong feelings on every level.
"It's just a wave of emotions," Casey said. "From proud to angry to sad...to back to proud again, as you go from one floor to the other."
He continued, " It's just a lot to see, and if you come in here trying to see it all in one day...you're not going to see it all!"
The museum is open and free to the public but passes are not easy to come by.
Demand for timed entry tickets is so high, the museum says there will be no more passes available until January.