Text: S.1233 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 108-238 (06/22/2004)
[108th Congress Public Law 238]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
NATIONAL GREAT BLACK AMERICANS COMMEMORATION ACT OF 2004
[[Page 118 STAT. 670]]
Public Law 108-238
To authorize assistance for the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum and
Justice Learning Center. <<NOTE: June 22, 2004 - [S. 1233]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: National Great
Black Americans Commemoration Act of 2004. Maryland.>>
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``National Great Black Americans
Commemoration Act of 2004''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) Black Americans have served honorably in Congress, in
senior executive branch positions, in the law, the judiciary,
and other fields, yet their record of service is not well known
by the public, is not included in school history lessons, and is
not adequately presented in the Nation's museums.
(2) The Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Inc. in Baltimore,
Maryland, a nonprofit organization, is the Nation's first wax
museum presenting the history of great Black Americans,
including those who have served in Congress, in senior executive
branch positions, in the law, the judiciary, and other fields,
as well as others who have made significant contributions to
benefit the Nation.
(3) The Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Inc. plans to expand its
existing facilities to establish the National Great Blacks in
Wax Museum and Justice Learning Center, which is intended to
serve as a national museum and center for presentation of wax
figures and related interactive educational exhibits portraying
the history of great Black Americans.
(4) The wax medium has long been recognized as a unique and
artistic means to record human history through preservation of
the faces and personages of people of prominence, and
historically, wax exhibits were used to commemorate noted
figures in ancient Egypt, Babylon, Greece, and Rome, in medieval
Europe, and in the art of the Italian renaissance.
(5) The Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Inc. was founded in 1983
by Drs. Elmer and Joanne Martin, 2 Baltimore educators who used
their personal savings to purchase wax figures, which they
displayed in schools, churches, shopping malls, and festivals in
the mid-Atlantic region.
(6) The goal of the Martins was to test public reaction to
the idea of a Black history wax museum and so positive was the
response over time that the museum has been heralded by the
public and the media as a national treasure.
[[Page 118 STAT. 671]]
(7) The museum has been the subject of feature stories by
CNN, the Wall Street Journal, the Baltimore Sun, the Washington
Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Dallas
Morning News, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Afro
American Newspaper, Crisis, Essence Magazine, and others.
(8) More than 300,000 people from across the Nation visit
the museum annually.
(9) The new museum will carry on the time honored artistic
tradition of the wax medium; in particular, it will recognize
the significant value of this medium to commemorate and
appreciate great Black Americans whose faces and personages are
not widely recognized.
(10) The museum will employ the most skilled artisans in the
wax medium, use state-of-the-art interactive exhibition
technologies, and consult with museum professionals throughout
the Nation, and its exhibits will feature the following:
(A) Blacks who have served in the Senate and House
of Representatives of the United States, including those
who represented constituencies in Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South
Carolina, and Virginia during the 19th century.
(B) Blacks who have served in the judiciary, in the
Department of Justice, as prominent attorneys, in law
enforcement, and in the struggle for equal rights under
(C) Black veterans of various military engagements,
including the Buffalo Soldiers and Tuskegee Airmen, and
the role of Blacks in the settlement of the western
(D) Blacks who have served in senior executive
branch positions, including members of Presidents'
Cabinets, Assistant Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries
of Federal agencies, and Presidential advisers.
(E) Other Blacks whose accomplishments and
contributions to human history during the last
millennium and to the Nation through more than 400 years
are exemplary, including Black educators, authors,
scientists, inventors, athletes, clergy, and civil
(11) The museum plans to develop collaborative programs with
other museums, serve as a clearinghouse for training, technical
assistance, and other resources involving use of the wax medium,
and sponsor traveling exhibits to provide enriching museum
experiences for communities throughout the Nation.
(12) The museum has been recognized by the State of Maryland
and the City of Baltimore as a preeminent facility for
presenting and interpreting Black history, using the wax medium
in its highest artistic form.
(13) The museum is located in the heart of an area
designated as an empowerment zone, and is considered to be a
catalyst for economic and cultural improvements in this
economically disadvantaged area.
[[Page 118 STAT. 672]]
SEC. 3. ASSISTANCE FOR NATIONAL GREAT BLACKS IN WAX MUSEUM AND
JUSTICE LEARNING CENTER.
(a) Assistance for Museum.--Subject to subsection (b), the Attorney
General, acting through the Office of Justice Programs of the Department
of Justice, shall, from amounts made available under subsection (c),
make a grant to the Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Inc. in Baltimore,
Maryland, to be used only for carrying out programs relating to civil
rights and juvenile justice through the National Great Blacks in Wax
Museum and Justice Learning Center.
(b) Grant Requirements.--To receive a grant under subsection (a),
the Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Inc. shall submit to the Attorney
General a proposal for the use of the grant, which shall include
detailed plans for the programs referred to in subsection (a).
(c) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be
appropriated to carry out this section $5,000,000, to remain available
through the end of fiscal year 2009.
Approved June 22, 2004.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 1233:
HOUSE REPORTS: No. 108-372, Pt. 1 (Comm. on Resources).
Vol. 149 (2003):
July 14, considered and passed
Vol. 150 (2004):
June 1, considered and passed House,
June 3, Senate concured in House