United States
Agriculture Grounds

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    • Day 90

      African American History Museum

      July 12, 2023 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

      Am 24. September 2016 strömten riesige Menschenmengen in die National Mall, als Präsident Barack Obama, der erste schwarze Präsident des Landes, das neue Museum nach fast einem Jahrhundert Planung offiziell einweihte.
      Das Museum ist beeindruckend - eindringlich beeindruckend. Es beginnt 200 Jahre vor der transatlantischen Sklaverei, wenn Europäer und Afrikaner friedlichen Handel betrieben. Das änderte sich, als Amerika entdeckt und besiedelt wurde. Die dortigen Ureinwohner, v.a. in Süd- und Zentralamerika wurden zahlenmäßig durch eingeschleppte Krankheiten stark dezimiert. Wer sollte nun die neu gegründeten Plantagen bearbeiten? Der kürzeste Weg führte nach Westafrika. 12,5 Millionen Menschen dort würden in den nächsten Jahrhunderten (1514-1866) gekidnappt, verschleppt und verklavt werden, ganze Generationen würden als Sklave geboren werden. Kolonialmächte wie Portugal, England, Spanien oder auch Holland zogen den transatlantischen Sklavenhandel gross auf. Afrikaner wurden liegend oder sitzend auf Booten zusammengepfercht, monatelang. Wer starb, wurde Haifutter. und es starben viele. Sehr viele.
      12 der 18 ersten Präsidenten der USA waren selbst Sklavenhalter, das Kapitol wurde mit Unterstützung von Sklaven gebaut. Die neue freie Welt war paradoxerweise nicht für alle frei. Der Bürgerkrieg (1861-1865) zwischen Nord und Süd war der Krieg für oder gegen die Sklaverei. Aber auch danach ging die Diskriminierung weiter, u.a. mit dem Ku-Kux-Klan. Der Klan bestand 1865 bis 1871 (und wiederum 1915 bis 1944). Die Diskriminierung ging weiter mit der offiziellen Rassentrennung. Die Black Power Movement und heutezutage die Black Lives Matter Bewegung kämpfen weiterhin gegen die Unterdrückung und Diskriminierung von Schwarzen. Auf zwei Etagen wurden hingegen die ersten Afro-Amerikanischen Stars in Musik, Sport und Film dargestellt. Im Contemplative Court mit Wasserfall kann man in Ruhe über das Gesehene nachdenken. Ich konnte nicht. Nach 5 Stunden in der klimatisierten Luft waren meine Finger leicht angefroren. Also raus in die Sonne.

      On September 24, 2016, massive crowds filled the National Mall as President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, officially dedicated the new museum with the ringing of a bell to signal the official opening, after nearly a century of fitful planning.
      The museum is impressive - hauntingly impressive. It starts 200 years before the transatlantic slavery began - when Europeans and Africans engaged in peaceful trade. That changed when America was discovered and settled. The indigenous people there, especially in South and Central America, were severely decimated by imported diseases. Who should work on the newly established plantations? The shortest route led to West Africa. 12.5 million people there would be kidnapped, abducted and enslaved in the next centuries (1514-1866), whole generations would be born as slaves. Colonial powers such as Portugal, England, Spain and Holland were the main drivers of the transatlantic slave trade. Africans were crammed into boats, lying or sitting, for months. Whoever died became shark food. And many died. Many many.
      12 of the first 18 presidents of the USA were slave owners themselves, and the Capitol was built with the help of slaves. Paradoxically, the new free world was not free for all. The Civil War (1861-1865) between North and South was also the war for or against slavery. But even after that, the discrimination continued, including with the Ku-Kux-Klan. The clan existed from 1865 to 1871 (and again from 1915 to 1944). Discrimination continued with official racial segregation. The Black Power Movement and today the Black Lives Matter movement continue to fight against oppression and discrimination against black people. On the other hand, the first Afro-American stars in music, sports and film were presented on two floors. In the Contemplative Court with a waterfall you can think about what you have seen. I could not. After 5 hours in the conditioned air, my fingers were slightly frozen. So time to get out into the sun.
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    • Day 2

      Melting in DC

      July 2, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

      We slept for almost 12 hours and woke up ready to hit the town! We ate a quick breakfast and grabbed iced lattes at the corner coffee stop and then took an Uber to the Lincoln Memorial. It was a balmy 35c by 10am, which actually worked in our favour. Hot, sweaty, and worn out tourists barely even looked at Lincoln so it was perfect to get close for some pictures! We also saw this great Lego exhibit where someone had built The Washington Memorial and White House completely out of Lego!

      We walked over to the Reflecting Pool and looked out over the water towards the Washington Memorial before walking over to the Vietnam Memorial. We could not believe how many names were inscribed on the wall.

      We had planned to catch our Hop On bus near the Vietnam Memorial, but because of Independence Day preparations, it wasn’t going to that stop. So, not to be defeated (after all we did overcome our terrible bus experiences in Rome) we walked to the White House. As you can imagine, there are many barricades and protests of all kinds happening. It was still pretty cool to see and bigger than I had imagined.

      Just down the block was Renwick Gallery. It is a small gallery and the entire space was devoted to an exhibit about the art of Burning Man. The sculptures and costumes on display were a sight to behold! There was one room that was a temple constructed out of wood blocks and a man powered tin dragon and interactive trees that grew into different shapes when you stepped on a panel. It was a very cool show!

      It was after lunch time, so we took the metro to E’nfant Plaza and walked down to the wharf. We grabbed a bite at the much talked about Shake Shack and enjoyed burgers and an incredibly thick and rich chocolate shake. There was a Milk Bar close by, so we popped in to get a piece of crack pie to share.

      Refuelled, we waited to get on the Hop On bus, which then took us to see the Capital building (from afar, lots of 4th preparations are happening there at the moment) and then to the National Air and Space Museum, which is the second most visited museum in the world. (The Louvre is first.) There, we were able to see the real Spirit of St. Louis! We also saw a large exhibit about the Apollo missions, including a chance to “look inside” the living quarters of an astronaut in space. We saw another exhibit about the Wright brothers and their process to building their flying machine. Then it was on to the planes used in WWI and WWII, and the evolution of using planes in battle. After a quick tour through the gift shop where Evan bought a Neapolitan ice cream space bar and a magnet, we walked to the Hirschorn Museum of Contemporary Art.

      We only had 30 minutes before the museum closed, so we made our way to the Barbara Krueger floor first and then up to see the Mark Bradford exhibit. We saw Bradford’s work at the Venice Biennale last year as he represented the USA there. We also saw other contemporary pieces including a very realistic looking sculpture of a large man and a condensation cube. Evan wasn’t allowed to go in one room due to mature themes. If only the security guard knew how many “jigglys” Evan had to see last year! Haha!

      Before we knew it, time was up and we had to leave. We took the metro back to Arlington so we could cool down in our hotel before supper.
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