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|President's Message, January 2013
Juanita Moore, President & CEO
Inspiring Minds: it’s not just the name of our newest permanent exhibit. It’s also an extraordinarily apt description of what the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History does, day in and day out, for people of all ages and backgrounds. Exploring the African American experience through the arts, humanities, law, literacy, science, and health, The Wright Museum provides an array of aesthetic, interpretive, and intellectual opportunities to inspire visitors for a lifetime.
At our 2012 Annual Meeting held on December 6, we took a look back at the many accomplishments of the past year. These include:
- Partnering with over 90 organizations including universities, cultural institutions, and the U.S. Department of Education to present an incredible diversity of programming including close to 200 educational and public events
- Hosting 12 new exhibitions including Visions of Our 44th President, a groundbreaking collaboration with 44 contemporary artists from across the country that will be the Museum’s first national traveling exhibit
- The Jerry Pinkney Celebrity Children’s Book Fair, the success of which resulted in the awarding of an endowment by the Knight Foundation to fund this literacy program on an ongoing basis
At 125,000 square feet and with a collection of over 35,000 artifacts, The Wright Museum is the largest museum of African American history in the world. But our impact goes far beyond our physical footprint. We provide needed educational opportunities to thousands of children throughout the region, and serve over a half million people per year – locally, nationally, and internationally – through our exhibits, programs, websites, and events such as African World Festival, which celebrated its 30th year in 2012. For the first time ever, AWF was held on the museum grounds.
Over the next year, the Inspiring Minds exhibition will show thousands of children that with hard work and the will to succeed, their dreams can be attained. Perhaps the next big scientific breakthrough in medicine, environmental protection, or consumer technology will find its seed in the galleries of The Wright Museum.
Furthermore, a father may be encouraged by his children to read to them by what they experience in our Children’s Discovery Room. A graduate student can make a new connection for their thesis in our research library. And a young couple will start a new life together with vows said under the Ford Freedom Rotunda dome.
These things we do, and will continue to, for children, parents, seniors, performing artists, budding scientists, all people, the rich and the poor – Inspiring Minds, for what comes next, by understanding what came before: fostering context; encouraging contemplation; and enabling creation, understanding, and cooperation.
As we enter 2013, I want you to think not of what we have done in the past, but what we will do going forward. How are we helping to foster the rebirth of this great city and region? And simultaneously, how are we reaching and including those that are barely getting by, who are struggling to survive, so that they may partake in the revitalization all around us? Detroit cannot be held back, and it can’t leave anyone behind. It’s obvious that much more needs to be done, and that our reach, the impact of the Museum’s mission of education, must be both deeper and wider. We need partnerships with the Arab American and Latino communities, with the outer suburbs and inner city organizations, with individuals and entities providing for the educational, health, and spiritual needs of our children and adults. We’re all moving forward – together – and each and every one of us needs to jump in and play a part.
Liberation Film Series Presents Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes
Saturday 1/12 at 2 pm
The Liberation Film Series: 2012-2013 Season continues with a free screening of Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes, followed by the discussion,“Did You Ever Really Love Me?”: What Hip Hop Teaches Us about Race, Gender & Sexual Politics, with Dr. Dionne Bennett, in the Museum's General Motors Theater. Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes provides a riveting examination of manhood, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. Director Byron Hurt, former star college quarterback, longtime hip-hop fan, and gender violence prevention educator, conceived the documentary as a "loving critique" of a number of disturbing trends in the world of rap music. He pays tribute to hip-hop while challenging the rap music industry to take responsibility for glamorizing destructive, deeply conservative stereotypes of manhood. The monthly Liberation Film Series offers the regional community an opportunity to experience a season of culturally important, enlightening, and engaging films. Immediately following each film, a speaker-led interpretation and Q&A session will provide the audience with deeper insights. To encourage literacy, a bibliography, supplemental reading materials, and useful links for each film are accessible on the Museum’s website, and the speaker’s books and related texts available at the venue. Click here to learn more...
||Charter One Free Family Second Sunday Celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation
Sunday 1/13 from 1 - 5 pm
Bring the whole family to Rejoice, Relive & Reconnect at The Wright Museum with free admission every second Sunday of the month courtesy of Charter One Bank! This month, celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with a panel discussion led by Drs. Kiddada Williams of WSU, DeWitt Dykes of Oakland University, and Tony Ingram of Oakland Community College. Also featured will be the premiere of episode 12 of the Voices of the Civil War. Copies of the Emancipation Proclamation will be available for visitors. This event is free and open to the public!
||13th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Commemorative Breakfast
Monday, January 21 at 8 am | Doors at 7:30 am
Join us for a rousing meal for the body, mind and spirit at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Commemorative Breakfast! Doors open at 7:30 am and seating is on a first come, first served basis. Breakfast is from 8 - 9 am in the Ford Freedom Rotunda followed by a program in the General Motors Theater with keynote speakers and musical performances. PLEASE NOTE: valet parking will be available. Tickets are $35 each, or $30 each in groups of 10 or more. Purchase at the Museum, online at www.TheWright.org or by phone at (800) 838-3006 (phone and online orders are subject to service charges). Proceeds benefit the Museum's educational programming. Sponsored by the Women’s Committee of the CHWMAAH. Click here to learn more...
Martin Luther King Day, Jr. Day Celebration
Monday, January 21 from 9 am - 7 pm
Join us for an exciting day of celebration, service, activities, screenings, workshops and performances on the Museum's busiest day of the year! Activities include:
• Children’s workshops, craft-making and more!
• Musical performances
• Free health screenings by Henry Ford Health System
• Live video stream of the Presidential Inauguration
• Activities in the Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science & Technology and Visions of Our 44th President exhibits
All activities are FREE with museum admission. Click here to learn more...
||In The Footsteps of Mandela 12-Day South Africa Vacation & Safari
October 8 - 19, 2013
Join fellow patrons, staff members and supporters of The Wright Museum on this amazing journey through the vibrant Rainbow Nation. Discover Nelson Mandela's South Africa through a collection of unique excursions and soulful encounters. This exclusive itinerary comes complete with most meals, luxurious accommodations, numerous excursions, plus round trip air transportation from Detroit. Please click here to download the brochure. For information or to book your reservation call (800) 321-0040.
Visions of Our 44th President
Through August 4, 2013
This groundbreaking, collective art exhibit was created to honor and celebrate the significance of the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama. Forty-four busts were created from a model that served as a blank canvas, giving each of forty-four contemporary artists from across the country - including Tyree Guyton, Gale Fulton Ross, Faith Ringgold, and Kadir Nelson - free reign to creatively interpret this milestone in American history. The Visions exhibit premieres at The Wright Museum before becoming the Museum’s first national traveling exhibit; at the conclusion of the tour, the exhibit will become a part of The Wright Museum’s permanent collection. Click here to learn more...
Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology
This comprehensive, high-tech and permanent exhibition highlights trailblazers, contemporaries and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). African Americans have contributed to the scientific and engineering output of the United States since the 17th century, and this history is brought to life through interactive computer kiosks, a touchscreen video wall, and hands-on activities and play areas teaching basic engineering concepts. Four disciplines of scientific advancement are explored: Physical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, and Technology & Engineering. Within these, 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. Click here to learn more...
Moving to His Own Beat - Fela: The Man, The Movement, The Music
Through March 17, 2013
Created in partnership with Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, this exhibit examines the life of Nigerian superstar Fela Kuti in the realms of music, culture, and politics, and preludes the arrival of the off-Broadway smash musical, Fela!, in February, 2012. Fela's undying passion for African peoples, understanding of the power of art and politics, and unyielding struggle against the colonial forces in Nigeria during the 1950s and 1960s, solidified his legacy as a shimmering agent of change against the status quo. He spoke out against the ruling government, returned to African traditions that had been interrupted during Colonialism, and brilliantly used his music as a medium for social change. Always pushing the envelope, Fela infused traditional African highlife music with classical jazz and funk, which evolved into a unique sound that he called, “Afrobeat.” The powerful music and social commentary found throughout his vast catalogue of recordings is indicative of his desire to help end oppression among African peoples everywhere. Click here to learn more...
A Very Present Force: Celebrating a Century of the Detroit Branch NAACP
Through March 3, 2013
Since its formation in 1912 - only three years after the founding of the national association - the Detroit Branch NAACP has been on the front lines of civil rights activism and advocacy, both locally and throughout the nation. A Very Present Force celebrates this sustained and important century-long struggle for equal opportunity and social justice. Organized into three sections, A Very Present Force explores the Detroit Branch NAACP’s rich local history while situating it within the broader national and international struggle for civil rights. Click here to learn more...
Pathways to Freedom in the Americas: Shared Experiences between Michigan and Mexico
Through March 31, 2013
Inspired by the meeting of two women who became fast friends - Patricia Ann Talley, an African American from the United States of America, and Candelaria Donají Méndez Tello, an Afro-Mexican from Mexico (the United Mexican States), this exhibit presents the symbiotic relationship that has existed between Americans and Mexicans but has seldom been told. Divided into three sections, the exhibition uses video, maps, photographs, art, and music to depict a different aspect of slavery in the Americas, the story of fugitives that escaped slavery in the United States on the Underground Railroad south to Mexico, African heritage as it continues to permeate Mexican culture - especially in the Costa Chica Region of Guerrero, the migration of Mexicans to Michigan and the culture as it has manifested in Southwest Detroit. Click here to learn more...
Great American Artists - Part III: The Seeds
Through January 6, 2013
This yearlong exhibition features the works of a consortium of Detroit artists in a three-part series subtitled, "Roots, Branches, and Seeds." This cooperative provides the group a means of documenting and preserving each artist’s image and their careers. In this third installment, the works of Endia Beal, Sydney James and Mario Moore form the “Seeds” of the group. They have used inspiration derived from the exhibit's first two parts - The Roots and Branches - to create works that address the social issues of today.
Click here to learn more...
Detroit Free Press, "Enticing special exhibits await at metro Detroit museums"
The Detroit News, "Wright African American history museum rebuilds donor base"
2012 Annual Appeal
2012 Annual Report Letter from the Chairperson & President
2012 Annual Review Video
Voices of the Civil War Episode 11 "Prelude to the Emancipation Proclamation"
Members of the The Wright Museum enjoy benefits such as:
• Free admission to the museum
• Free guest pass(es)
• Invitations to Members' Only previews
• Free subscription to the quarterly membership newsletter, The Wright Times
• 10% discount in the museum store
• Special pricing on select museum events
• 20% off meals at Union Street Restaurant