WASHINGTON (WVEC) -- During a recent visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, I had the chance to talk to Dr. Rex Ellis, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs.

Ellis shared his perspectives on the importance of the museum, itself, as well as all that is contained inside it.

“I think this museum is a beacon for those who would forget that African American history is quintessentially American history,” said Ellis.

It's a beacon that more than three million visitors have enjoyed since it opened in September 2016.

Ellis is one of the many people behind the success of the museum, a place you’ll want to visit more than once just to take it all in. He said people are staying four to six hours at the museum and they are coming back over and over again.

Among many things, the museum provides an in-depth, uncensored look at slavery.

“Slavery is the lack of humanity and lack of control over your own life,” said Ellis.

Slavery started in Hampton, where Ellis said the first Africans arrived at Point Comfort/Old Point Comfort in 1619, nearly 400 years ago.

Ellis also credits Hampton Roads for the end of slavery.

“At the beginning of the Civil War around May of 1861 is where three Hamptonians from Sewells Point, began a movement,” he said.

Ellis said that really was the beginning of the end of the Civil War, a war that the museum covers in detail.

He also said the museum will be here as an iconic testament to the journey of African Americans forever.

Walking through the museum will leave you absolutely speechless. I highly recommend it.

You will want to plan your visit in advance because you will need passes to get into the museum. Check its website for more information.

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