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National Museum of African American History And Culture Opens Saturday

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens here in Washington, D.C., tomorrow. And thousands are coming to visit, including Glenn Morris (ph).

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

He is a farmer from Lyles Station, Ind. That's an historic African-American farming community founded by freed slaves and the focus of one of the museum's exhibits. Morris was about to board a bus to come see the new exhibit when we reached him.

GLENN MORRIS: I've had my parents and my grandparents and, I guess, my grandfather before that - that's what they done. And I know they would never have thought this here would've happened. And neither did I, really. But all I've ever done is farm.

GREENE: Another visitor is Willie Harris, flying in from Las Vegas. Born on a Mississippi plantation, he went on to be one of Hollywood's first black stuntmen.

WILLIE HARRIS: When we started in 1967, there was only one black stuntman, who doubled Bill Cosby. And when we started, there was no black producers, directors, makeup, wardrobe, sound, camera. We changed all of that.

GREENE: Harris is now the president of the Black Stuntmen's Association. He donated a few personal items to the museum.

HARRIS: Growing up, I never thought about the Smithsonian - that I would ever be there. But it's a great thing because of my grandkids. So they will be - go to the Smithsonian and take their kids years from now and read about us.

MONTAGNE: Thembisa Mchaka is coming in from Brooklyn, N.Y., meeting family flying in from LA and Florida. She says her family is steeped in culture and tradition. So she's bringing tissues.

THEMBISA MSHAKA: I expect to be emotionally rocked. You know, it is an opportunity to enjoy us in our full splendor, to see us for all that we are and to not be made to feel less than. You know, we can actually experience ourselves as being equal contributors and equal citizens in the context of having a museum of our own.

GREENE: The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens in Washington, D.C., tomorrow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.