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Ford Freedom Award to Ford Free Sunday: The Wright's Weekly Update May 4 - 10

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Music x Fashion x Technology | Ford Freedom: The Wright's May 2015 eZine

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AFROTOPIA Is Now: The Wright's Weekly Update April 27 - May 3

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An American Success Story: The Wright's Weekly Update April 20 - 26

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Why the Arts Matter: The Wright's Weekly Update April 13 - 19

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A Purposeful Contribution: The Wright's April 2015 eZine

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President's Message, April 2015

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Juanita Moore, President & CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African Americ
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My legacy was my job. Everything I did was what I was supposed to do... I was committed to what I defined as "one of the most important tasks of our times," ensuring that generations, especially young African Americans, are made aware of and take pride in the history of their forbears and their remarkable struggle for freedom. An idea came to me that African Americans needed a museum to collect and preserve our history and culture. And, with the help of many minds and hands, that idea came to fruition. – Charles H. Wright, M.D.

As I read these words by our museum’s founder in the exhibition, I, Charles H. Wright: My Story, I was struck by the following thought: we cannot wait for greatness; we must make it so. Dr. Wright, through purpose, education, and service, marshaled the energies of many, and today we have this great museum that bears his name.

When studying history, it is easy to equate greatness with great deeds, of moments etched in the collective memory of humanity. Especially so in the lives of those who made the greatest sacrifice – such as Viola Liuzzo and Malcolm X, two mighty freedom fighters who lost their lives 50 years ago.

Does greatness require great deeds? Certainly not - greatness also lies in little deeds done purposefully, like daily lessons taught by dedicated teachers, or selfless prayers said by the faithful. Great deeds such as these are not tracked by history's lens, yet in aggregate, have changed the world countless times since time began.

When we line up to vote to determine our representation in the halls of government, we stand on the shoulders of those who fought for that right. Those who marched from Selma to Montgomery 50 years ago did so as ordinary folks who put on the mantle of greatness by virtue of their deeds.

While we live in an age of instant celebrity and omnipresent media, most of us will never be famous. Yet we can do great things – for our families, in our communities, and for the future. Through purpose, we can conquer fear; through education, we abolish ignorance; through service, we uplift one another.

We can look to history to inspire us, to fuel the passion behind purpose, but it is up to each of us to understand our purpose, and how we may best put it to work. Dr. Wright’s legacy should encourage us all to pursue our purposeful contribution, and greatness will surely follow.



Click here to download our April 2015 Member Newsletter

 

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Recognizing, remembering & rejoicing for Women’s History Month; From Black Women who Rock to Our Pride & Joy, The Wright Museum celebrates women during the month of March

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The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is recognizing Women’s History Month during the month of March with a calendar packed full of events. The month-long celebration launches this Saturday, March 7, at 7 pm with jessica Care moore’s 11th Annual Black Women Rock! Concert [sold out]. The rock music showcase features high-energy, fun-filled performances from moore, Nik West, Ideeyah, Stephanie McKay and more that the entire family is sure to enjoy. Attendees can participate in workshops, visit the pop-up BWR art exhibit, and mingle with the BWR performers during the artist meet & greet. Saturday’s evening of entertainment will be followed by Black Women Rock! Community Discussion on Sunday at 12:30 pm. The discussion will be led by a panel of BWR performers and is free and open to the public.

On March 13, for the second year, The Wright Museum will host #313DLove, an event with one sole purpose – to uplift Detroit! Speakers from community centered organizations, including United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Arise Detroit, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and more, will share stories, ideas, and action items on ways others can “be part of the change” which is taking place in our beloved city. The talks take place from 1 – 5 pm with a social media campaign launching at 3:13 pm. Tickets are $31.30 and can be purchased at http://www.313dlove.com/. Those who are unable to join us in person are encouraged to join us on the web with the hashtag #313DLove.

Women’s History Month will culminate with The Wright Museum’s 2nd Annual Women’s History Month Concert: Our Pride and Joy. Taking place on Friday, March 27 at 7 pm, six legendary women will be celebrated with a compelling and joyous performance of song, spoken word, poetry and dance. The honored include, Maya Angelou, Ruby Dee, Dorothy Height and Detroit’s own Judge Claudia Morcom. During the concert, a special Sojourner Truth statue will be publicly unveiled. Admission is free; all are welcome to attend.

During March, The Wright Museum will continue to host regular programmed events including Mahogany at the Museum (March 13), The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers (March 20), and Liberation Film Series (March 21).  As the snow melts and we enter spring, The Wright welcome families to bring in their youth to experience our extensive list of free children’s programming such as Saturday’s Family Activity Series (March 14, 21, 28), Interactive Storytime (March 8), and Links to Science (March 7 & 14).  

SPECIAL EVENTS

SOLD OUT: Black WOMEN Rock! Concert ($)
Saturday, March 7 at 7 pm
Experience the rock performance of the year at The Wright! Black WOMEN Rock! showcases the music and stories of Black women who build institutions around their craft, and empowering women who play guitar, cello, drums, sing, or write poetry, to do so on their own terms. 2015 represents the 11th year anniversary of the BWR Weekender. In addition to the concert, the weekend is filled with an assortment of other activities, including an art exhibition, workshop, panel discussion and meet-and-greet with the performers of BWR. 2015 performers include: Nik West, jessica Care moore, Ideeyah, Stephanie McKay, Denitia Odigie, Steffanie Christi'an, Monica Blaire, DJ Stacey "HOTWAXX" Hale, Kat Dyson, Sabrina Nelson, the Black Women Rock Orchestra and more! The Black WOMEN Rock! concert is SOLD OUT. For media access please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (313) 494-5866.

Black WOMEN Rock! Community Discussion
Sunday, March 8 at 12:30 pm
The community discussion portion of the Black WOMEN Rock! weekend is an all-ages forum for talking to and learning from the Black WOMEN Rock performers, including valuable insight and advice for artists and performers of all genres. Free.

#313DLove: What’s “Wright” About Detroit Discussion Event ($)
Saturday, March 13 from 1 – 8 pm
The vision of #313DLove is a Detroit whose self-worth is high, unemployment is low, and education system is second to none. If TEDx is all about "Ideas worth spreading" #313DLove is all about "actions worth emulating.” We've gathered a handful of top-shelf people who are busy making a huge impact on our community. They will share their stories, suggest ways others can "Be part of the change" and, most importantly, what drives them to stay here in the D. The talks are from 1 – 5 pm. We have built in plenty of time so we can get busy tweeting what we love about Detroit at 3:13 with the goal of breaking Twitter. Includes after-panel afterglow in the museum’s beautiful Ford Freedom Rotunda. Tickets are $31.30 and can be purchased at www.313dlove.com.

Artist's Studio Workshop featuring Ziwadi Majiisa ($)
Saturday, March 14 at 11 am
Local artist Ziwadi Majiisa will lead an art workshop for adults on Mixed Media Assemblage. Admission is $25 or $15 for museum members.

Black Marriage Day 2015 ($)
Saturday, March 21 from 11 am – 8 pm
Joining city halls, community centers, houses of worship and other institutions in 300 communities nationwide, The Wright Museum and Marriage Resource Center present Black Marriage Day 2015. First launched in Washington, D.C., this national initiative encourages African Americans to embrace an institution by highlighting the deep-rooted historical role marriage has played among African Americans, as well as the reality that there are still black men and women who, day in and day out, meet, fall in love, get married, and stay together. Black Marriage Day 2015 will be held for married couples, as well as those who are engaged, seriously dating or looking to get married, at The Wright Museum on Saturday, March 21, beginning at 11 am. Tickets are $50 per couple in advance, $55 the day of the event. For more information, contact Angela King at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Our Pride and Joy: Women’s History Month Tribute Concert
Friday, March 27 at 7:30 pm
In honor of Women’s History Month, six legendary women are celebrated in this riveting and spectacular performance of song, spoken word, poetry, and dance by Detroit’s leading performing artists. Women to be honored include Maya Angelou, Ruby Dee, Dorothy Height, and Detroit’s own Judge Claudia Morcom. Additionally, the unveiling of a special Sojourner Truth statue will take place. Hosted by LaShaun Phoenix Kotaran. Free.

FAMILY

Family Activity Series
Every Saturday in March 14, 21, 28 at 12 pm
Join in the celebration of The Wright's 50th anniversary with this regular Saturday activity series for the whole family! Featured in March will be hip-hop dance (March 14), crafts (March 21), and discovering classical music with Rick Robinson (March 28)! Free.

Links to Science presented by the Renaissance Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
Saturdays, March 7 & 14 at 1:30 pm
Explore the wonders and wizards of science with the Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science & Technology exhibit, which explores achievements in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through interactive computer kiosks, a touchscreen video wall, and hands-on activities. Free. 

Ford Free Second Sunday
Sunday, March 8 from 1 - 5 pm
Bring your family and friends to experience the wonder of The Wright Museum with free admission every second Sunday of the month courtesy of Ford Motor Company! Free.

Don Barden Foundation Interactive Storytime
Sunday, March 8 at 2 pm
Where music, movement, and literacy collide, this interactive story performance will put your kids in the story! Children take a free book home afterwards! Made possible by the support of the Don Barden Foundation and General Motors Foundation. Free.

Crown-Making Workshop
Saturday, March 21 at 1 pm
This hands-on workshop offers attendants of all ages an opportunity to make their own crowns from templates of the designs used in Shani Peters’ University of Michigan exhibition. Free.

Meet the Scientist Saturday featuring David Head & Dr. Terrance Dillard
Saturday, March 28 at 2 pm
Do you know a curious student, a young Einstein, or a future tech wizard who is always thinking of the next big thing? Bring them to discover and explore science with activities around the Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology exhibit! David Head & colleagues from the David L. Head Foundation will discuss African American trailblazers and their inventions and contributions to science. Free. 

PERFORMANCE

Spelman College Jazz Ensemble Performance ($)
Thursday, March 12 at 7 pm
Spelman College Jazz Ensemble's unique combination of vocalists, wind instrumentalists, and rhythm section has thrilled and excited audiences across the country with their innovative and soulful sound. Organized in 1983 under the leadership of its founder/director, Joe Jennings, this talented, nationally-renowned, all-female jazz ensemble has toured throughout the United States, and has shared the stage with jazz greats such as Wynton Marsalis, Consuela Lee, Nancy Wilson, Leroy Jenkins, Valerie Capers, the Straight Ahead Jazz Quartet, the Uptown Sting Quartet, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Regina Carter. $25 or $15 for museum members.

Mahogany @ The Museum #6 ($)
Friday, March 13 at 7 pm
The legacy of Café Mahogany lives on at The Wright Museum. Come be inspired, surrounded by good vibes and great energy, enjoy spoken word and musical artists, live painting, vendors, and much more. Powerful, political, romantic, humorous...real. A perfect night out for sophisticated young professionals. Hosted by Joel Fluent Greene. $15 online / $20 at the door.

The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers present "Pride & Prejudice" ($)
Friday, March 20 at 8 pm
The award-winning Secret Society Of Twisted Storytellers presents a curated, live storytelling event featuring Real People. True Stories. Told Live. Featuring Twisted Storytellers Nicole Pitts, Nicholaus Rainey, Hannah Wise and more. Musical Guest Amy Jackson with Dance Guests SambaSoul: Vanessa Almeida and Jamile Lulo. Local Artisans/Exhibitors and Cash Bar! Hosted by Satori Shakoor. For Info, Tickets & Video visit: www.secretstorytellers.org

Sing a New Song Theatrical Production
Sunday, March 22 at 6 pm
"Sing a New Song" is a theatrical production depicting the life of a civil rights minister who is challenged to begin addressing the violence in the black community. He refuses to do so until violence strikes his own home. Crew and cast are asking men to bring a young man to the show, and to come early to walk through the "And Still We Rise" exhibit prior to seeing the play. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Purchase tickets online at http://harambeeproductions.webs.com/ or at The Wright Museum information desk.

FILM

Freedom Riders Film Screening & Discussion
Sunday, March 15 at 6 pm
The “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” returns with a screening of "Freedom Riders," presented by The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses throughout the segregated southern United States in 1961 and following years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. The movie tells the terrifying and suspenseful story of a time when white and black volunteers riding a bus into the Deep South, risked being jailed, beaten or killed. Free.

180 Days: Hartsville Film Screening & Discussion
Thursday, March 19 at 6 pm
A recent Southern Education Foundation report has uncovered that, for the first time in 50 years, the majority of students attending public schools in the U.S. live in poverty. An inspiring new documentary, "180 Days: Hartsville," takes a fresh look at the nation’s poverty and education challenges from a rural South Carolina town triumphing in the face of extraordinary challenges. Co-directors Jacquie Jones and Garland McLaurin, the team behind the Peabody Award-winning documentary 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School which premiered in 2013, joined SCETV in Hartsville, South Carolina for more than a year. They filmed in two elementary schools struggling with new curriculum standards and maintaining funding, while meeting the needs of individual students. Yet Hartsville is fighting the odds—and winning—with an astonishing 92 percent graduation rate in their city. Free. 

Liberation Film Series presents The Spook Who Sat By the Door
Saturday, March 21 at 2 pm
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History presents a free screening of “The Spook Who Sat By the Door” followed by a community conversation with Dr. Melvin Peters, Associate Professor, Eastern Michigan University. "The Spook Who Sat by the Door" is a 1973 film based on the riveting 1969 novel of the same name by author, Sam Greenlee (1930 - 2014). It is both a powerful story of the late 1960s Black Liberation Movement in the United States, with a particular focus on Black militancy. Free. 

Chameleon Street Film Screening & Discussion
Saturday, March 21 at 3 pm
View this screening of Chameleon Street for the first time in Detroit after 20 years! This Sundance award-winning film will be followed with a panel discussion including the film director & star, Wendell B. Harris, and artist Shani Peters. Free.

The Great Detroit Film Screening and Discussion

Sunday, March 22 at 3 pm
The Great Detroit that takes a panoramic look at Detroit's history, scenery and people that emphasizes the positive aspects of the city. Following the screening will be a discussion by the film’s producer, Anthony Brogdon. Free.

Voices of the Civil War Episode 38
Wednesday, March 25 online at TheWright.org/voices
The Voices of the Civil War is a five-year film series dedicated to celebrating and commemorating the Civil War over the course of the sesquicentennial. Each month, new episodes cover pertinent topics that follow the monthly events and issues as they unfolded for African Americans during the Civil War. Within these episodes there are various primary sources – letters and diaries, newspaper reports, and more - to recount various experiences of blacks during this period. We encourage your feedback and commentary through our Voices of the Civil War blog, where you can view new and previous episodes at www.TheWright.org/voices.

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Hustle for History Weekly Dance Lessons ($)
Sundays at 5 pm
Get your groove on with our weekly hustle dance lessons taught by instructor Thomasenia Johnson of Two Left Feet.  Work your muscles, strengthen your bones and have a ball while supporting the Museum's ongoing membership efforts - this activity is great for all ages!  Free for Members, $7 for non-members. Purchase 5 lessons and receive a complimentary museum membership, making your next 12 months of hustle lessons FREE!

30 Days To Lose It! Weekly Workouts ($)
Tuesdays at 7:30 pm
Ramp it up for March with a jump, hoop & roll workout with Velonda Thompson, PhD, Institute for Population Health! Free for members, $5 for non-members. Attend 8 consecutive sessions and receive a complimentary museum membership, making your next 12 months FREE! For more information please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 30 Days to Lose It! is sponsored by Beaumont Health System and St. John Providence Health System, and endorsed by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports.

LECTURES & MEETINGS

The Value of Service: Women as Leaders Abroad Panel Discussion
Wednesday, March 4 at 6 pm
The Value of Service: Women as Leaders Abroad is a joint effort between the Peace Corps – Midwest and The Wright Museum to celebrate Women’s History Month by recognizing the accomplishments and perseverance of women who uplift their communities despite the circumstances in which they are placed. The program also seeks to inspire the exploration of other cultures through a life changing, service-based experience. A panelist of local women who are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers will speak about their perspective and how they balanced their own values with their communities, specifically around gender issues. The panel will highlight women who took on leadership positions in their communities or who made an impact on their service. Recommend audience: ages 12-years-old and above.

ASALH Detroit General Membership Meeting
Sunday, March 15 at 3 pm

ASALH History Lesson on the Underground Railroad by Evelyn Millstein
Sunday, March 15 at 4:30 pm
In keeping with the mission of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of Black History Month and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the ASALH Detroit Branch will host monthly history lectures. Please join us to hear from Mrs. Evelyn Millstein who will present on the Underground Railroad. Free.

African World Festival Community Advisory Meeting
Wednesday, March 18 at 6 pm
Would you like to share your ideas and comments about the upcoming African World Festival? If so, please come to one of the upcoming AWF Community Advisory Meetings to be held monthly on the third Wednesday in the Latimer Café on the lower level. All are invited to share ideas, resources, and support as we plan for the 33rd annual African World Festival, which takes place Friday - Sunday, August 14 - 16, 2015 on the grounds of The Wright Museum. Your participation will insure it's the best AWF yet! Free.

EXHIBITIONS

And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture
Permanent Exhibition
The core experience of The Wright Museum, this 22,000 square-foot exhibition takes visitors through time and across geographic boundaries from prehistoric Africa all the way to modern-day Detroit. Throughout, the efforts of everyday men and women who built families, businesses, educational institutions, spiritual traditions, civic organizations and a legacy of freedom and justice are hailed. Free with museum admission.

Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology
Permanent Exhibition
This high-tech exhibit highlights trailblazers, contemporaries and careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through interactive computer kiosks, a touchscreen video wall, and hands-on activities and play areas. Inspiring Minds introduces individuals from across the spectrum of fields, levels of renown, and from times past and present, with particular focuses on African American women in science, black aviators, black inventors, medical ethics, and key historical figures such as George Washington Carver. Free with museum admission.

Shadow Matter: The Rhythm of Structure – Afro Futurism to Afro Surrealism
Through August 30, 2015
This one-man show features works by New York sculptor and Inkster, Michigan-native M. Scott Johnson. Scott’s education as a sculptor began in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, where he studied under master sculptor, national hero and elder statesman of Zimbabwe stone sculpture Nicholas Mukomberanwa (1940 - 2002). Scott’s work has been strongly influenced by African American techno music, Ndyuka and Saramaka graphic art forms, Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi, and Makonde sculpture. Johnson’s work has been exhibited in galleries across the United States and internationally including the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harvard University, and The New York Botanical Gardens. Free with museum admission.

The Nataki Way: 35th Anniversary of the Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse of Detroit
Through April 19, 2015
The Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse of Detroit (NTSD) joyously celebrates 35 years of service to its students, parents, employees, and community. Carmen and George N'Namdi founded NTSD as a private school in 1978 to honor the memory of their fourteen-month-old daughter, Nataki Talibah N'Namdi, who died in 1974. The school now enrolls over 430 students. After 35 years of hard work, the NTSD continues to uplift students from diverse backgrounds and help them identify the varying roles each of us must play to make the world a better place for everyone. Free with museum admission. 

I, Charles H. Wright: My Story
Opening March 10; Through January 3, 2016
This special anniversary exhibition features the history of Charles H. Wright, M.D. (1918 – 2002), founder of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, in his own words. It surveys his early life in Dothan, Alabama, his college years, his activism, and the path that led to the founding of the museum. Free with museum admission.

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Music Legends Join Patti Austin for The Wright’s 50th Anniversary Celebration; “Oh, Freedom!” honors Black History Month with Grammy Award-winners & local talent

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Several noteworthy additions have been made to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History’s 50th anniversary concert, "Oh, Freedom! A Musical Journey Through African American History," taking place Sunday, March 1 at 7 pm at the Detroit Opera House. Joining the program are Gospel Superfest lifetime achievement award-winner Vanessa Bell Armstrong; Official Jazz Master Laureate for the City of Detroit Marcus Belgrave; Grammy Award-winning Motown producer Sanchez Harley; keyboardist & musical director for Michael Jackson, Greg Phillinganes; and founder and director of The American Playwright Theatre, Barry Scott.

Presented by Ford Motor Company, “Oh, Freedom!” features Grammy Award-winning singer Patti Austin, a choir with 75 of Detroit’s finest voices, and orchestra in the capstone event for The Wright's 2015 Black History Month, and celebrates the museum's 50th anniversary as it commemorates 500 years of African American history through music, song, and the spoken word. Previous performances by Ms. Austin of “Oh, Freedom!” have been lauded in San Francisco, Nashville, and Memphis. The show will include a tribute to the original founders of The Wright Museum, a medley produced by and starring Phillinganes, who served as musical director for the best-selling album of all time – Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and feature performances by Grammy-nominated gospel artist Vanessa Bell Armstrong, jazz trumpet master Marcus Belgrave, and 30-time Detroit Music Award-winning blues artist Thornetta Davis. The 50th anniversary choir includes Grammy-nominated artist Joan Belgrave, as well as singers from over 20 metropolitan church choirs, the Detroit School of Arts and West Bloomfield High School.

Tickets for Oh Freedom! start at $25 and are available at the Detroit Opera House box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, and by phone at (800) 745-3000. The Wright Museum is also giving away 2 pairs of tickets per day through a promotional text-to-win contest. To enter, entrants can text “Patti” to 72727 anytime from February 23 through February 27. Winners will be selected and notified daily.

For more information visit TheWright.org/ohfreedom. Oh Freedom! is made possible by support from Ford Motor Company, Macy’s, and AARP Michigan.

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The Wright Celebrates 50th Anniversary with “Oh, Freedom!” starring Patti Austin; Concert program honors Black History Month with Grammy Award-winning singer, community choir

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The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Ford Motor Company present "Oh, Freedom! A Musical Journey Through African American History," Sunday, March 1 beginning at 7 pm at the Detroit Opera House. This special production featuring Grammy Award-winner Patti Austin, a choir with 75 of Detroit’s finest voices, and orchestra is the capstone event for The Wright's 2015 Black History Month and celebrates the museum's 50th anniversary as it commemorates 500 years of African American history through music, song, and the spoken word.

Of special note is the 75-voice choir comprised of voices from across metropolitan Detroit representing varying ages, races, and backgrounds. Included are singers representing dozens of choirs, churches, and schools, as well as noteworthy participants such as 30+ Detroit Music Award-winner and blues diva Thornetta Davis, and jazz/gospel/soul vocalist Joan Belgrave.

Tickets for Oh Freedom! A Musical Journey Through African American History starring Patti Austin start at $25 and are available at the Detroit Opera House box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, and by phone at (800) 745-3000. For more information visit TheWright.org/ohfreedom. Oh Freedom! is made possible by support from Ford Motor Company and Macy’s.

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2015 Black History Month at The Wright Museum; Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations Include Highest Profile Month of the Year Programming

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The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History will present a wide range of exciting, insightful, and inspirational programming in celebration of Black History Month. The museum will be open every day of February to accommodate the expected record visitation by school groups and the general public as a result of the museum’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at the museum, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, and are free and open to the public. A complete listing of events is attached; of special note are the following:

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration at The Wright Museum; Museum’s most popular day of the year features annual commemorative breakfast, youth forum, and film premiere

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The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History presents its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Celebration Monday, January 19, 2015. Featured events include the 15th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Commemorative Breakfast and the first Unknown Legacy of MLK Forum, hosted in partnership with Public Allies Metro Detroit. These highlights and a variety of other family friendly activities will be held at the museum, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, on its most popular day of the year.

The Commemorative Breakfast precedes the day’s events, beginning at 8 am. Hosted by the Women’s and Friends’ Committees of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History as an annual fundraiser for the museum, the breakfast will features guest speaker State Senator Coleman A. Young, II, The Detroit Delta Preparatory Academy Choir, The Institute of Music & Dance at Marygrove College, and a special presentation by University of Detroit Jesuit High School student and John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award nominee Saunders James Lee II. U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. will serve as the Honorary Chairperson.

The Wright Museum opens to the public at 9 am and the day’s schedule includes arts & crafts, children’s activities and workshops, civil rights films on continued rotation, dance and musical performances, and the display of Martin Luther King artifacts including Table of Brotherhood, signed by luminaries such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Spike Lee, and an official maquette (scale model) of the Martin Luther King National Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Beginning at 10 am, Public Allies Metro Detroit explores the “Unknown Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” through a youth dialogue based on race, culture, and Detroit identity in leadership. Through presentations, workshops, and roundtable discussions, youth and young adults are invited to examine organizational policies, practices, attitudes, and initiatives to help them on their quest as NEW-NOW-NEXT community leaders, in addition to cultivating meaningful cross-cultural discussion on current social and civic issues. The forum is free but advance registration is encouraged at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/unknown-legacy-of-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-tickets-15068124165.

Making its southeastern Michigan premiere, the 2014 documentary, "Al Helm (The Dream): Martin Luther King in Palestine" will be presented in partnership with the Arab American National Museum. Following the screening is a discussion focusing on community building, service, and ways to diffuse racial and ethnic tensions. Panelists include Will See, youth coordinator at East Michigan Environmental Action Council; Amanda Ghannam of Kairos USA's board of directors and former Students for Justice in Palestine organizer; Dr. Jeffery D. Robinson, principal at Paul Robeson/Malcolm X Academy and pastor at Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, both in Detroit; and Zena Ozeir, activist/Public Ally. The film screening and discussion are free but advance registration is encouraged at http://bit.ly/mlkinpalestine.

Also taking place is the debut of the museum’s latest exhibit Shadow Matter: The Rhythm of Structure – Afro Futurism to Afro Surrealism, a one-man show featuring the works of New York sculptor and Inkster, Michigan-native M. Scott Johnson. Johnson studied under master artisans in Africa, and his work - which is influenced by African American techno music, Ndyuka and Saramaka graphic art forms, and Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi - has been exhibited in galleries across the United States and abroad including the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harvard University, and The New York Botanical Gardens.

Tickets for the Commemorative Breakfast are $35 and can be purchased online at www.TheWright.org, by calling (800) 838-3006, or at the museum during normal business hours. Discounted group tickets are available for $30 each when purchased in groups of 10, and all breakfast tickets include admission to MLK Day activities at the museum. Doors open at 7 am and breakfast will be served promptly at 8 am in the museum’s Ford Freedom Rotunda. Valet parking will be available.

MLK Day activities and exhibits are free with museum admission, which is $8 for adults (ages 13-61), $5 for seniors (62+) and youth ages (3-12), and free for museum members and children under 3. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day programming is made possible by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

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President's Message, January 2015

Posted by Juanita Moore
Juanita Moore
Juanita Moore, President & CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African Americ
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on Thursday, 01 January 2015
in Events & Updates

50 years. One half-century. That is the length of time from the initial founding of the museum until today, initiated by Detroit obstetrician Dr. Charles H. Wright and a racially integrated group of citizens concerned about preserving the history and inspiring the aspirations of a people.

50 years. One half-century. Selma. The Voting Rights Act. The assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. The election of Coleman Young. The release of Nelson Mandela and the end of Apartheid. Our first African American President of these United States of America, Barack Obama.

50 Years. One half-century. The International Afro-American Museum at 1549 West Grand Boulevard. The IAM traveling museum. The Museum of African American History at 301 Frederick Douglass Avenue. The groundbreaking at 315 East Warren Avenue. The renaming of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

50 years. One half-century. Of learning, of exploration, of edification, of pride, of celebration, of community. For the community, with the community, and by the community. Thank you for being an integral part of the first 50 years of The Wright Museum.

Let the Celebration Begin
In honor of our 50th anniversary, we are pleased to present our 2015 calendar featuring vibrant photography, information on upcoming museum programs and events, quotes from community leaders, and important dates in African American history. These commemorative keepsakes are available for purchase in the museum store, or as a courtesy copy when making a donation. To learn more, call (313) 494-5800 or speak with a guest services associate on your next visit.

This anniversary is a milestone for the museum, its supporters, the City of Detroit and the entire metropolitan region. Our celebration will continue throughout 2015, with many highlights along the way. There has never been a better time to visit, or to join us as a member, donor, or volunteer. Our vision is of a world in which the adversity and achievement of African American history inspire everyone toward greater understanding, acceptance, and unity. African American history is American history, and we all share its stories. This museum belongs to each and every one of us. Come be a part of it!



Click here to download our January 2015 Member Newsletter

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President's Message, October 2014

Posted by Juanita Moore
Juanita Moore
Juanita Moore, President & CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African Americ
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on Wednesday, 22 October 2014
in Events & Updates

When my daughter Shalewa was four years old, I wished for her what any mother wishes for her child – that she have all the opportunities possible to grow up safely and securely, and become a responsible, caring, and accomplished adult. But that’s not all… I also wished for her to be as strong as Harriet Tubman, as conscientious as Sojourner Truth, as eloquent as Frederick Douglass, as idealistic as Abraham Lincoln, and as inspirational as Maya Angelou.

As Shalewa herself would attest, I had high hopes – and standards!

And we should! We should have high standards, the highest standards for our children, so that they may inherit their world with the strength and skills necessary to navigate life. But that means we must also provide them all the opportunities necessary to learn, to grow, to feel safe, and to feel whole.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History helps serve this very special constituency in the community. Each and every month, thousands upon thousands of school children from across the region stream through our doors to bear witness to the breadth and depth of the African American experience.

From educational outreach and literacy programs, to health and wellness workshops, this museum performs a range of services and serves an array of purposes in the community. It’s not only a source of pride for our city and region, it helps inspire pride and understanding among our children, and will for generations to come. That is, perhaps, our most important work – to open minds and change lives.

We want every child to feel as strong as Joe Louis, as curious as George Washington Carver, as accomplished as Paul Robeson, as courageous as Rosa Parks, and as committed as Dr. Charles H. Wright.

The Wright Museum and its staff are committed to making these opportunities possible – and possibilities attainable – for all children. Whether you are a first-time visitor or long-time member, thank you for your continued support in helping The Wright Museum help every child to achieve their dreams.

WELCOME A-BOARD!
For our museum, a strong and committed board is vital to the institution’s success. We are pleased to welcome these newest members to our Board of Trustees: Pamela Alexander, director of community development and fund operations, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services; Rumia Ambrose-Burbank, president, VMS365; Tom Lewand, Sr., group executive for jobs and economic growth, City of Detroit; Suzanne Shank, president & CEO, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co.; and S. Gary Spicer, Sr., Law Offices of S. Gary Spicer, Sr. Given the esteemed group these new trustees are joining, we know the museum is in very good hands as we embark upon our 50th anniversary.

 

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Click here to download our October 2014 Member Newsletter

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The 2014 Wright Gala: The Ball Promises to be the “FunRaising” Production of the Season with Art Deco Glam, Broadway Magic, and Studio 54 Tribute

Posted by The Wright Museum
The Wright Museum
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in Today in Black History

There are galas, and there is THE Gala. In only its fourth year, The Wright Gala has become one of Detroit’s most highly anticipated annual events. It is the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History’s largest fundraiser, drawing hundreds of leading figures from corporations, culture, government, and the media. This year’s event, themed “The Ball,” takes place Saturday, October 11, 2014 beginning at 6:30 pm at the museum, located at 315 East Warren Avenue.

The Ball LOGO

The theme of the 2014 Wright Gala is inspired by the museum’s current exhibition, A Theatre of Color: Costume Design for the Black Theatre by Myrna Colley Lee. Guests will experience the excitement and magic of Broadway, including celebrity guests, high fashion, eclectic dining, and “Studio 54” disco dancing into the night.

"The Wright Gala is a key fundraising initiative that helps support ongoing educational programming at the museum," said Juanita Moore, president & CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015. "This signature event helps raise significant funding to pursue our mission of opening minds and changing lives through the exploration and celebration of African American history and culture.”

Highlights of the black-tie extravaganza will include:

  • Indulgent libations in a monumental tent that will take over the museum grounds until sunset
  • Red carpet arrival and reception in the museum’s transformed Ford Freedom Rotunda with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a peak at the playbills for the evening’s Broadway-style show
  • Decadent dinner cuisine served in a supper club atmosphere, recognition program emceed by WDIV’s Lauren Campbell-Sanders, and toast to a “surprise” Tony Award-winning guest
  • Silent auction of works by some of Detroit’s most prominent artists, exotic travel packages, and tickets to the most coveted sporting and entertainment events
  • Dessert and dance-till-you-drop Studio 54 disco party

TICKET INFORMATION:

Tickets for The Wright Gala start at $350 each and include open bar, dinner, Studio 54 party and complimentary valet parking. Tickets are available online at TheWrightGala.com, by phone at (800) 838-3006, or at the museum’s Information Desk.

“We are forever grateful to the members of the gala’s Host Committee, who donate their time, influence, and resources to help The Wright,” said Moore. “Our committee of dedicated volunteers, as well as our sponsors, represent a wide array of the Detroit community, and it’s great to see so much support for art, literacy and culture.”

The 2014 Wright Gala Host Committee:

Rumia Ambrose Burbank, Yvette Bing, Rosalind Brewer, Betty Brooks, Lauren Campbell-Sanders, Julianne Carroll, Janice Cosby-Bridges, Eva Cunningham, Brenda Davis, Retha Douglas, Eleanor Ford, Linda Forte, Mary Anne Gargaro, Linda Gillum Ph.D., Gretchen Gonzales Davidson, Barbara Hughes Smith Ph.D., Roberta Hughes Wright Ph.D., Denise Ilitch, Sharon James, Marion Jones, Florine Mark, Terri Moon, Vivian Pickard, Glenda Price Ph.D., Suzanne Shank, Barbara Whittaker, Jacqueline Wilson

The 2014 Wright Gala Sponsors:

  • General Motors Company, Presenting Gala Co-Sponsor
  • Ford Motor Company, Presenting Gala Co-Sponsor
  • General Motors Foundation, Arts and Education Partner
  • MGM Grand Detroit, VIP Reception Sponsor
  • Bank of America, Entertainment Sponsor
  • St. John Providence Health System, Entertainment Sponsor
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Theatre Arts Workshop Sponsor

RUN OF SHOW:

6:30 pm               VIP Reception

7:15 pm               Gala Cocktail Reception

8:00 pm               The Ball Seated Dinner & Show

10:00 pm             Studio 54 Party

A Theatre of Color: Costume Design for the Black Theatre by Myrna Colley-Lee is sponsored by General Motors Foundation. The exhibit is on display until January 4, 2015 and is free with museum admission

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The Wright Museum Hosts Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series 2014 Competition

Posted by The Wright Museum
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on Wednesday, 13 August 2014
in Today in Black History

Bombay Sapphire Gin and the Russell and Danny Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Art Foundation have partnered to present the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series competition and opportunity to help an artist from the United States become the “Next Big Name in Visual Arts,” at SCOPE MIAMI BEACH in Miami Beach, Florida. The Charles H. Wright Museum is hosting the regional competition for the State of Michigan. All artists, emerging and professional, are welcome to participate. The competition is free and no purchase is required. The deadline to submit your artworks - online only - is August 16, 2014.

Visions

“Visions” by Lobyn Harrison. Harrison was the winner of the Detroit Regional Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series 2013. He went to Miami where his phenomenal work was exhibited to wide acclaim! You can view his piece in the Past Exhibits on the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series 2014 website.

The Competition
The Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series provides a means of selecting some of the nation’s best artists and sending them to the internationally acclaimed Scope Miami Beach international art show. Jurors will select semi-finalists from the Michigan regional works. These artists will have their pieces unveiled in an exhibition at tThe Wright Museum in November - December 2014. One regional finalist will make the trip to SCOPE MIAMI BEACH for the grand finale event.

There, the top three pieces will earn a spot in the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series Mural Project in their local market while the Grand Finale Winner will get a solo show of their own at SCOPE NEW YORK in March 2015. 

For official contest rules and how to enter, click here to visit the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series website.

The Opportunity
While many artists are invited to the SCOPE MIAMI BEACH, many, many more never get a chance to participate on this extraordinary world stage. The Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series serves as a feeder to this astounding event. One of Michigan’s artists will win—it could be you, but you must enter the competition. The deadline is August 16, 2014, but we want the entries to be in by August 15th. Also, our objective is to have more artist entries than the other regions, including Chicago and New York. Click on past winners at to see the Michigan regional winner.

As a special service to the Michigan arts community, the Wright Museum will help anyone who does not have access to the Internet to complete their online application and upload images of their work. Artists must have photographs of their work. For additional information or computer assistance, please contact Jennifer Evans at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by telephone at (313) 494-5818.

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New Music Video Features Acting Cameo by Acclaimed Opera Singer George Shirley

Posted by The Wright Museum
The Wright Museum
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In this recently released video by musical artist Aloe Blacc for his song, Hello World (The World is Ours), 2014 Wright Museum partner, acclaimed Metropolitan Opera Singer and Grammy Award-winning University of Michigan Professor George Shirley makes an acting cameo. This past March, The Wright Museum and Videmus, as part of the George Shirley Education and Outreach Initiative, presented a masterclass for students to work directly with Mr. Shirley.

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President's Message, July 2014

Posted by Juanita Moore
Juanita Moore
Juanita Moore, President & CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African Americ
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on Thursday, 10 July 2014
in Today in Black History

The song of summer is upon us, and I am happy to report several pieces of what I call our Grace & Mercy news: an award of $1 million from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support children's programming, and a donation of $100,000 from LJ Holdings Investment Company CEO and museum Trustee Jon E. Barfield. We are so grateful to the Kellogg Foundation and Mr. Barfield, and to the hundreds of others who have stepped up since the beginning of the year to help support the institution envisioned by Dr. Charles H. Wright, whose 96th birthday will be commemorated at this year’s Legacy Dinner Saturday, September 20. As we come closer to the 50th anniversary of the founding of the museum, it is incumbent upon all of our stakeholders that we move beyond thinking of our gifts as merely support, but also sustenance – an ongoing source of funding that by its very nature will insure the sustainability of The Wright for its next 50 years. Our history and the gifts of our ancestors require nothing less.

But still, like dust, (we’ll) rise.

Jon Barfield knows this, as his $100,000 gift is but one of several he and his wife, Dr. Vivian Carpenter, have made over the years, including the hosting of fundraisers in their home. So does Howard Sims, who provided a $100,000 match to the Give A Grand, Make a Million campaign. Then, there is our Alma Greer. A retired teacher, principal, and 30-year veteran of the Highland Park School Board, Greer made it a point to take her kindergarten class to visit the International Afro-American Museum when Dr. Wright and his partners opened it in 1965. In 2013, she dedicated her 80th birthday celebration to the museum by asking family and friends to raise funds in lieu of birthday gifts. And just this past June, her foundation made it possible for a group of kindergarten students to not only visit, but also enjoy a fine dining experience – something many of them had never had the opportunity to do before.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still (we’ll) rise.

For a living institution like the museum, the work, and financial need, never ends. Like time and tides, they have their ebb and flow. But the very real effort of attracting talent, expanding capacity, and building towards sustainability has never been greater, or more necessary. We are at a cusp, having attracted over a quarter of a million guests this past year for the first time in our history, with the promise of so many, and so much, more. We must go from "good to great," from great to awesome, and awesome to (nationally) accredited.

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain…

Bringing the gifts that (our) ancestor(s) gave…

As the late Maya Angelou said, "We need to remember that we are created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed." In making my appeal that your continued gifts to The Wright be seen as necessary to allowing it to enact its mission with the highest levels of scholarship and service, and in accordance with the stature and dignity of the history and pride it represents, I hope Maya will forgive my liberties with her poem that inspired the name of our core exhibit, And Still We Rise.

"Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
- Isaiah 43:19

Together, we will.

 

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Click here to download our July 2014 Member Newsletter

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Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice; free lecture & book signing features the only biography endorsed by Marshall’s family

Posted by The Wright Museum
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Young-ThurgoodProfessor and scholar Dr. Larry S. Gibson will discuss and sign copies of his latest book, Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice, the only biography on the celebrated jurist Thurgood Marshall to be endorsed by his family. This free takes place Saturday, March 1, 2014, at 2 pm at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Detroit.

Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice is an exhaustively researched and engagingly written work that will be of interest to any everyone interested in law, civil rights, and American history. Thurgood Marshall was the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century. He transformed the nation's legal landscape by challenging the racial segregation that had relegated millions to second-class citizenship. He won twenty-nine of thirty-three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, was a federal appeals court judge, served as the U.S. solicitor general, and, for twenty-four years, sat on the U.S. Supreme Court. But Marshall's personality, attitudes, priorities, and work habits had crystallized during earlier years in Maryland.

Young Thurgood is the first close examination of the formative period in Marshall's life. Dr. Gibson presents fresh information about Marshall's family, youth, and education. He describes Marshall's key mentors, the special impact of his high school and college competitive debating, his struggles to establish a law practice during the Great Depression, and his first civil rights cases. The author also sheds new light on the NAACP and its first lawsuits in the campaign that led to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision, and corrects some of the often-repeated stories about Marshall that are inaccurate.

About the Author

Larry S. Gibson is a professor of law at the University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law, where he teaches Evidence, Election Law, Race and the Law, and Civil Procedure. Gibson is a graduate of Howard University and Columbia University School of Law and has practiced law in Maryland. Also a civil rights activist and advocate, Gibson participated in the 1963 March on Washington, engaged in sit-in demonstrations, and lobbied for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He has also acted as legal counsel to several civil rights organizations and leaders.

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President's Message, February 2014: Rochelle Riley Writes: "Do The Wright Thing!"

Posted by Juanita Moore
Juanita Moore
Juanita Moore, President & CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African Americ
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on Thursday, 13 February 2014
in Today in Black History

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!

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