(CNSNews.com) – The new Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s tagline is “powerful moments in African American history, culture, and community.” However, the museum – with a $540 million price tag funded 50 percent by U.S. taxpayers and with a collection of more than 36,000 artifacts and 100,000 people represented – doesn’t include many prominent blacks, including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Edward Brooke, a Republican who became the first African American to be elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote in 1966.
After touring the new museum and exploring the website, which contains information on all the exhibitions in it, CNSNews.com asked the Smithsonian why Thomas, Brooke and eight other prominent men and women are not included in the museum.
CNSNews.com asked: “Many prominent African Americans are not included in the museum, most notably Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas … Can [the institute say] why Thomas and the others listed below are not a part of the museum exhibits?”
Linda St. Thomas, chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian, replied:
“There are many compelling personal stories about African Americans who have become successful in various fields, and, obviously, Associate Justice Thomas is one of them,” St. Thomas said in an email. “However, we cannot tell every story in our inaugural exhibitions.
“We will continue to collect and interpret the breadth of the African American experience,” St. Thomas said.
The other African Americans not included in the museum, who are conservatives, are:
• Cora Brown, first African American woman elected to a United States state Senate, winning a seat in the Michigan State Senate in 1952.
• Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., who served in the Georgia state legislature and is a pro-life advocate with Priests for Life.
• Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), first African-American senator from the state of South Carolina, the first black Republican elected to the United States Senate since the election of Edward Brooke in 1966, and the first elected from the South since 1881, four years after the end of Reconstruction.
• Michael Steele, first African-American chairperson of the Republican National Committee, who served from January 2009 until January 2011.
• Kenneth Blackwell, mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio from 1979 to 1980, the Ohio State Treasurer from 1994 to 1999, and Ohio Secretary of State from 1999 to 2007.
• Thomas Sowell, American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author.
• Shelby Steele, American author, columnist, documentary filmmaker, and a Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
• Walter E. Williams, American economist who is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University.