Unveiling of landmark sculpture by Charles McGee Kicks off yearlong commemoration of the 50th Anniversay of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

Unveiling of landmark sculpture by Charles McGee kicks off yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion


July 14, 2016


Nikia Washington

The Wright Museum

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(313) 494-5866

Unveiling of landmark sculpture by Charles McGee kicks off yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion 

Detroit, Mich. – "United We Stand," a sculpture by Kresge Eminent Artist Charles McGee will be unveiled at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History during a Metro-Detroit 'community reunion' – re:Unite at The Wright – at 3:30 p.m., July 23, 2016 in Detroit.

The 20-foot by 20-foot installation located at the museum's Farnsworth entrance was made possible by a $50,000 grant from The Joyce Foundation to McGee and The Wright Museum to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion. McGee, 91, calls this his "most ambitious work to date."

"We are incredibly thankful to The Joyce Foundation, and donors such as Tyrone Davenport, The Kresge Foundation, the museum's board of trustees and many others, for recognizing and supporting the vision of Charles McGee," said Juanita Moore, president and CEO of The Wright. "It's an honor to install this magnificent work by one of Detroit's most celebrated artists on the grounds of this institution, where it can be enjoyed by visitors from across metropolitan Detroit and the world."

McGee has several works installed around Detroit, including "Noah's Ark: Genesis" (1984) at the Detroit Institute of Art, "The Blue Nile" (1987) in the Broadway Station of the Detroit People Mover, and "Freedom Bound" (1996) in The Wright Museum's Ford Freedom Rotunda.

"The basic thesis behind all the work I do has to do with togetherness," said McGee."I don't think one is better than the other. I think that [we] all come together, [we] synthesize, into one energy."

The re:Unite at The Wright Detroit community reunion celebration follows the sculpture's unveiling and welcomes past and present Detroiters and metropolitan neighbors to celebrate the region's unity while commemorating the 50th anniversary of the five-day 'Detroit Rebellion.' The fateful event began in the early morning of July 23, 1967 on 12th Street and Clairmont when police raided a local bar hosting a celebration for two soldiers who had returned from Vietnam; the resulting rebellion erupted partially as a response to longstanding injustices including segregation and police brutality. As a fitting symbol of unity, demonstration of Detroit's progress since the Rebellion, and representation of a city committed to working together, Police Chief James Craig and the Detroit Police Department will stand in unison with the community as participants in the day's events; their recent viral video "Running Man Challenge" team will kick off the evening's "United We Stand" dance party.

This festival-style event will feature family activities, food trucks, and performances by artists including: Detroit Poet Laureate Naomi Long Madgett; Mosaic Youth Theater; acclaimed hip hop and spoken word performers Mike Ellison and jessica Care moore; InsideOut's Terry Blackhawk; The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers' Satori Shakoor; artist and organizer Michael Reyes; educator and author Najwa Zebian, and many others. World-renowned line dance master DJ Maestro will also debut an original "United We Stand" hustle dance.

Both the unveiling ceremony and re:Unite celebration are free and open to the public. Limited lawn seating will be available. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

Learn more about "United We Stand" and re:Unite at The Wright here.


QUICK FACTS about United We Stand and re:Unite at The Wright:

• "United We Stand" is Charles McGee's most ambitious work to-date, made possible by $50,000 grant from The Joyce Foundation and a host of donors who gave matching funds. The sculpture is installed at the museum's Farnsworth entrance.

• The ceremony will be held July 23 along with a summer community event – re:Unite at The Wright – a metropolitan Detroit community reunion; featuring entertainment, activities, food trucks, festivities & intercultural performances!

• Organizers calling on all local leaders and the metropolitan Detroit community to "reunite" in commemoration of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion, which began in the early morning hours of July 23, 1967.

About Charles McGee: McGee, 91, has built a lifelong legacy of mentorship, community service, and arts advocacy, while maintaining a cutting-edge practice that continues to change and transform. On any given day, he can be found at his computer, experimenting and designing works of art. Togetherness, unity and balance are major themes of McGee's lifetime of work, and "United We Stand" was born from those deeply ingrained principles.

About the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: Founded in 1965 and located in Midtown Detroit's Cultural Center, The Wright Museum is the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. For more information, please visit TheWright.org.

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