"We're not a burden on American or a stain on America or an object of shame and pity for America. We are America,"Obama powerfully stated. "And that's what this museum explains. Hopefully, this museum makes us talk to each other and listen to each other and see each other."
Obama wasn't the only president at the event; he welcomed President George W. Bush -- and his wife Laura -- as guests of honor. The legislation for the establishment of the museum, the first national museum devoted exclusively to African American history and culture, was first authorized by Bush in 2003, almost 100 years after it was first proposed.
"The lesson of this museum is that all Americans share a past -- and a future… By staying true to our principles, righting injustice, and encouraging the empowerment of all, we will be an even greater nation for generations to come," Bush said during his speech, before getting a hug from the first lady.
Also taking the stage was Stevie Wonder, who gave a brief speech before performing a new song.
"This cannot go on, all of it, any of it," he said about today's political climate. "All the back and forth, the hatred, trying to divide us a united people."
"It can't go on. History has shown us that we can rise," he continued. "As you visit the story of a people, a country, a spirit, remember our strength. Remember our courage. Know that we must come together. We must come together."