By now you’ve probably seen one of Rochelle Riley's columns about the financial needs of The Wright Museum in the Detroit Free Press:
"Wright museum needs financial footing in Detroit bankruptcy plan,"
"Detroit's African-American museum needs to be spared, too,"
"Who will step up to inspire the Wright museum's salvation?"
We are most grateful for Rochelle’s words of support, and in response, the outpouring of support we’ve received from the community. Rest assured, with your help the museum is not going anywhere. But the columns do make an important point – that The Wright needs both city and community support to be sustainable, and there’s no better time than Black History Month, when all eyes are trained on the museum and its programming, to make those needs known.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, known as the founder of Black History Month and “father” of Black history, could only dedicate a few months per year to schooling, and didn’t enter high school until the age of 20. By his 37th birthday, however, he had earned his Bachelor of Literature degree from Berea College in Kentucky, served as a school supervisor in the Philippines, was awarded Bachelor of Arts and Masters degrees from the University of Chicago, and completed his PhD in history at Harvard University, only the second African American (after W.E.B. DuBois) to do so. Dr. Woodson understood the impact education and knowing one's history could have, as illustrated by his fervent commitment to it. He believed all people needed to know and understand African American history, both as a source of pride and self-respect for Black people, and as a basis for equality and respect from society as a whole.
Dr. Charles Wright wanted much the same thing, and The Wright is a direct result of his passion for African American history and culture, and belief in the impact access to it could have on the community. As Rochelle stated, “Leaders… realized that the museum’s value was not just in teaching African-American children about their heritage, but… in teaching all Americans about African-American contributions through history.”
Nevertheless, support from the City of Detroit, which owns the museum, its property, and its collections, has dropped more than 63% since 2009, and staffing has been reduced by 66%. We have done everything possible to do more, with less. Your support now can help us do more than ever before. Please give.
African American history was clearly worthy of the passion and interest of Dr. Woodson and Dr. Wright, and is certainly worthy of our support. You can do the “Wright” thing today – and there’s no better time than Wright now!