MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The America I AM tour rolled into Memphis' Civil Rights Museum Monday morning. The exhibit chronicles 400 years of history and accomplishments of African Americans in this country.
The tour concept came from commentator Tavis Smiley, whose goal was to turn a tractor trailer into a traveling museum that would make stops in nearly every state in the country.
Memphian Theodore Moore brought his grandchildren to see the exhibit, which features musicians such as Duke Ellington and stars like Lena Horne.
"When you come inside our truck, you are going to see a period that spans about 500 years of the African American story here in America, starting back during the Atlantic slave trade days all the way up through modern day," said tour driver Daniel Fuller.
A partnership between Smiley and Walmart, the exhibit chronicles African American art, religion, and music, and the their impact on American culture.
"And actually, it's a sneak preview of a bigger exhibit that will be touring America over the next three or four years," said Beverly Robinson of the National Civil Rights Museum.
Visitors will also get the chance to record their own thoughts and voices as the tour tries to assemble the largest oral history collection ever attempted in this country.
"After somebody comes through this exhibition, we hope that they walk away with a greater understanding of the African American imprint and what that imprint means to America," Robinson said.
The exhibits are designed with an interactive approach, taking visitors up close to articles about Malcom X, artifacts like Muhammad Ali's boxing glove, and the genius of Frederick Douglas. The exhibit also highlights the American Civil Rights movement.