WATCH | Today's youth will be the first to grow up with a Black history museum
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the first of its kind.
It's the only national museum devoted exclusively to documentation of African American life, history and culture.
"We're not just music and entertainment," NY1 News anchor and Smithsonian charter member Cheryl Wills told Circa. "We're science, we're education, mathematics."
A 'Black History' museum did not exist when Wills was growing up and textbooks offered barely anything on the African-American experience.
"This was long overdue," she said.
So, after doing some digging into her own family history, she decided to publish her own book that would show today's school kids that there is "so much more than what the mass media tells about African Americans."
"The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills," is a children's book based on a true story about Wills' great-great-grandfather who fought in the Civil War.
"There aren't many children's books written by descendants of Civil War soldiers," she said.
Wills says it is important for younger generations to know about their history and that resources, like her book and the new Smithsonian museum, will help them.
"How do you know who you are if you don't know where you've come from?"
You can read more about grandpa Sandy Wills here.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens to the public on Saturday, September 24.