Lewis Fraction never imagined that his death would help inspire work toward a museum on the Mall.
"Brother" Fraction and I were mentors in a church youth program when he died 20 years ago, just shy of his 60th birthday, leaving behind a wife and four grown children. While at his home to comfort his family and remember his life, I was struck by the stories told by the elders gathered there.
Stories about the myriad joys of youth - the courtship rituals, old dance steps, swooning over Sam Cooke. Stories about all-black, one-room, ramshackle schoolhouses and the nurturing but stern teachers who presided over them. Some described never seeing a whole piece of chalk or a new textbook - just broken bits and beaten-up books handed down from white schools. There were stories about countless indignities, major and minor, and the psychological wounds they inflicted.
Magnificent stories. Awful stories. Profound stories.
As we drove home that evening, I asked my wife, "Why don't we have a museum to tell all of those stories?"