Virginia Tech football team explores African American history, culture in Washington

WASHINGTON (WDBJ) -- With a collection of displays and artifacts nearing 37,000, it's easy to get lost among the history.

"It's an amazing building. I've been too busy taking pictures for my mom back at home. She made me take a bunch of pictures," said redshirt sophomore defensive back Divine Deablo.

The Hokies took a break from football Friday to check out the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

With displays featuring icons like Jackie Robinson, Jimi Hendrix and even a helmet from former Hokie Bruce Smith, there was something for everyone to learn.

"It's amazing to see all this history of African Americans over the years and the course of the establishment of America," said senior offensive lineman Yosuah Nijman. "I think it's very broad, and there's like different varieties of different things, and how these people came together throughout the years of being oppressed."

The trip was a chance for the team to exhale while preparing for Monday's Military Bowl against Cincinnati.

"I feel like the team always gets closer. You know, we get serious a lot during practice and stuff, but besides that, we have fun all the other times," Deablo said.

Besides just getting a break, though, the players said the museum visit helped teammates, both black and white, to experience something new.

"We get to spend time together outside of football where we can talk and socialize and kind of reflect on this kind of stuff coming from different backgrounds - some of us are white, some of us are black, some of us are Spanish - coming from different backgrounds so, I think it's important," Nijman said.