On October 22, 2011, the Anacostia Community Museum (ACM) presented “Who AM I” and “I’ve Got To Be Me” as part of the Let’s Talk about Race at the Smithsonian family day programs. ACM’s offerings—centering around race, family, and self—joined similar ones provided by other Smithsonian organizations at the National Museum of Natural History.
The day began at the museum with “Who AM I,” a presentation on family history research for children and their families. Historian Maria Goodwin led the group in a discussion on how easy it is to obtain and record important events in a person’s life. With assistance from their parents, children began to construct their family trees. Children, guided by a free Precious Memories workbook, also began to document their own lives. It was suggested that a good place to start is with family fun times. A sentiment shared by most was reflected in the comment, “I was very informed and plan to give [all of] my children this important information.”
Later, as part of the “I’ve Got To Be Me“ program, master storyteller and griot Baba-C offered a variety of tales about race, some from his own experience. Topics of discussion included the richness of diversity and attitudes on race and cultural differences. The afternoon session resulted in a lively exchange of storytelling and self-awareness.
Robert L. Hall, Associate Director of Education, Anacostia Community Museum