The African American Diversity Cultural Center Hawai'i (AADCCH), also known as the Obama Hawaiian Africana Museum, was founded in 1997 as a museum repository to archive 200 years of African descent history in Hawaii.
The purpose is to share the collections by displaying and exhibiting artifacts, photographs, oral history to tell the story of African Americans past and present history in all its permutations: family life, civic contributions, inventions, medicine, architecture, politics, religion, law and arts that will educate the people in Hawaii about the cultural heritage of black people in this country.
During the late 1700s and early 1800s, Hawaii was sparsely populated. Many people of African ancestry came to Hawaii aboard merchant and whaling ships.
The earliest settlers arrived in the Hawaiian Islands around 1769. Maritime labor during the 17th and 18th centuries was predominantly Black.
Conditions on ships were harsh and the pay low, it was better than being a slave. These men came from Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa, the Caribbean and the mainland United States.
Throughout the age of sail, black hands maneuvered white sails traversing the ocean waterways. The Atlantic Ocean ships brought Blacks to the slave blocks, the Pacific Ocean brought them to freedom. Many Black men used the oceans as their underground railroads.
In Hawai'i, Blacks were free to go ashore without harassment, dozens of them jump ship and made Hawai'i their home. They were welcome by the Hawaiian people.