President D. Roosevelt Disbands National Memorial Commission

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt disbanded the National Memorial Commission on June 17, 1933 and transferred its duties to the Department of the Interior. The abolishment of the commission project created a major setback in organizing the construction of the Memorial Building to honor African Americans. The next year, President Roosevelt rebuffed the Department of the Interior's $12,500 request for fundraising expenses, and a year after that, he rejected the idea of making the museum a Works Progress Administration construction project.


  • Roosevelt, Franklin D (Franklin Delano) 1882-1945
  • Works Progress Administration (WPA)
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • United States President (1933-1945 : Roosevelt)
  • United States Department of the Interior
  • National Memorial Commission 1929-1933


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • The National Memorial Commission was created by Public Resolution 107 of the 70th Congress and signed by President Coolidge on March 4, 1929. Composed of twelve Presidential appointees, the Director of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital, the Supervising Architect of the Treasury, and the Architect of the Capitol; the commission was charged with constructing "a memorial building suitable for meetings of patriotic organizations, public ceremonial events, the exhibition of art and inventions . . . as a tribute to the Negro's contribution to the achievements of America."
  • Hawkings, David. "How a Museum Struggled to Overcome Years of Gridlock: Story behind Newest Smithsonian Museum Echoes African American Struggle," Roll Call, last modified Sep 22, 2015,
  • "The Time Has Come: Report to the President and to the Congress". National Museum of African American History and Culture Plan for Action Presidential Commission, last modified April 2, 2003,

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


June 17, 1933


  • History museums
  • New Museums
  • History
  • African Americans--History

Full Record

View Full Record