Last week, President Obama dedicated the new National Museum of African American History and Culture located on the historic National Mall in Washington DC. The museum showcases important people and events from a perspective largely bleached out in many history books. Both the good and bad are in plain view for visitors.

Dedicated at a time in our history when the struggles of minorities and African Americans are on the front page, Obama made it clear in his dedicatory speech that the museum was not meant to be a remedy for those issues. He sees it rather as a means of creating an open dialogue on these sensitive issues as well as putting those problems in a larger context, juxtaposing the tragedies with the successes.

Many people want to ignore the difficult parts in our nation’s history, thereby making it more difficult to see how far we have come and how far those once oppressed have come. Our history is both the good and the bad, the successes and the tragedies, the growth from adversity. While not everyone may have the ability to visit the museum in person, the necessity of it for the American people is apparent as we strive to become more informed citizens.