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Bush Welcomes African-American Leaders to White House - 2002-05-31

President Bush welcomed African-American leaders to the White House Friday. The visit is part of an effort to establish an African-American Museum of History and Culture in the nation's capitol.

President Bush celebrated African-American music Friday with performances in the White House East Room. Urging everyone to learn more about the history of African-Americans, Mr. Bush said the nation's diverse and extraordinary musical heritage reflects what he calls "the remarkable cultural and artistic history of America."

"Black music is the sound of experience, written, as Stevie Wonder would say, in the key of life," he said. "For a long time, many citizens have hoped to see a museum in Washington that conveys the experience of African-Americans."

Following Congressional approval of the plan, the president has appointed a commission to lead the development of an African-American Museum of History and Culture.

"I hope the museum, when it is built, will remind visitors of both the suffering and the triumph, the hurt that was overcome, the barriers that are being cast away," he said. "In the Black-American experience there has been a lot of pain. America must recognize that. There has been progress too. And there needs to be more."

Declaring June as African-American music month, the president said the nation celebrates a "critically important part" of African-American heritage by highlighting what he calls "the enduring legacy" of African-American musicians, singers and composers.