Juanita Moore - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog
Juanita Moore is the President & CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (Detroit, MI), the largest museum of its kind in the nation. Prior to assuming her current post, she served as Executive Director of the American Jazz Museum and the Gem Theater located in the 18th & Vine Historic District (Kansas City, MO). 

Ms. Moore served as founding Executive Director of the National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis, TN). In that capacity, Ms. Moore oversaw the construction and opening of the museum located at the Lorraine Motel, the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Prior to Memphis, Ms. Moore spent several years planning and subsequently opening the National African American Museum and Cultural Center (Wilberforce, OH). As a senior member of the planning team, she was pivotal in developing a strategy and concept for building a nationally donated collection. 

Ms. Moore began her career with the Ohio Historical Society, where she served as the first African American curator. She also served as Director of the Kuumba Na Nia Dance and Theatre Company. In 2014, the Association of African American Museums presented Juanita Moore with the Dr. John E. Fleming Award for lifetime achievement.

Ms. Moore has served on numerous boards and committees, including:

President, The African American Museums Association
Board Member, The African American Museums Association
Board Member, American Alliance of Museums
Board Member, The American Association of State and Local History

Ms. Moore is currently a member of the following boards:

Board of Directors, International Council of Museums - United States (ICOM-USA)
Board of Directors, Midtown Detroit, Inc.
Board of Directors, CultureSource
Member, Michigan Freedom Trail Commission

Letter from the President, October 2017

Over the past three months, The Wright Museum has been filled with contemplation, commemoration, and celebration. From Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion, our 50th anniversary exhibition on the 1967 Detroit Rebellion, to the 35th annual African World Festival, the museum and its programming has been a centerpiece of our community. 

As we look back, it's important to recognize The Wright Museum is one of many institutions across the country that arose from the Civil Rights Movement. These organizations were created to help shape the changes taking place in our society, and provide agency in the battle against racism, segregation, and inequality. 

How radical an idea this was – museums founded by and for the people in the communities they served. These were living entities, providing the common person the words and images necessary to articulate their present-day needs. The Black Museum Movement was as much about storytelling as institution-building, and giving voice to the hopes and dreams, past, present and future, of the community. 

As Earl Moore, a former trustee for Chicago's DuSable Museum of African American History put it, "Most [museums] were endowed with money. Our institution was endowed with blood, sweat, and tears." 

As stewards of this great institution founded by Dr. Charles Wright, it's our continuing duty to contemplate, commemorate, and celebrate the blood, sweat and tears this museum has been endowed with. Each of us are bricks in the wall of this edifice that amplifies our stories for future generations. And we see this institutional relevance vindicated today in the way museums as a whole are moving towards embodying a community-centric focus. 

As we enter the final months of the year, it's fitting to take a deeper look at the world around us. I encourage everyone to take a second (and third) look at Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion, to revisit And Still We Rise, and to peruse our upcoming calendar of events. There's always something, whether a particular brushstroke or historical footnote, that can take us deeper into an artwork or provide a more nuanced understanding of an important moment in time. These experiences help feed our ever-present need of context for what's meaningful in our lives by illuminating our shared travails and triumphs. 

Through shared experience, The Wright Museum brings communities together – in dialogue, in communion, and in unity. In this, we create community, a commodity desperately in need. In 2017, it's readily apparent that change is still needed. In the face of continuing injustice and inequality, the radical empowerment of people engendered by the Black Museum Movement remains relevant today. It's our role to empower one another to continue moving towards the vision this country was founded upon. As Langston Hughes wrote in "Let America Be America Again:" 

O, let America be America again - 
The land that never has been yet -
And yet must be - the land where every man is free. 


Juanita Moore,
President & CEO

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Letter from the President, July 2017

I recently visited the California African American Museum's exhibition, No Justice, No Peace: LA 1992. Here in 2017 there's a startling symmetry: 25 years since the LA Uprising, and 50 years since the Detroit Rebellion, one of approximately 300 civil disturbances across the country that took place in the 1960s. As we prepare for the opening of our 50th anniversary commemorative exhibition, Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion, what struck me about the CAAM exhibit were the similarities in these histories – the marginalization of African Americans, the segregation and impoverishment of neighborhoods, the brutality of a justice system at odds with those it was sworn to serve.

Whether it's 25 or 50 years ago, important questions remain. What are the conditions that lead to rage and despair? Do we, as a society, have the fortitude necessary to confront the past? How do we, as a community, as a region, and as a society, heal?

Each question comes with an opportunity for action, for progress in the growth and renewal of our relationships with one another – individually, and collectively.

Be it 1967 or 1992 – then as in now – children grow up amidst the debris of history and wonder how things came to be. This year's commemoration marks an opportunity to engage in a process of discovery and dialogue long in need. If we don't learn from the lessons of the past, the cycle of disillusionment and despair will repeat. Instead, we must be enlightened, energized and spurred to action.

It is significant that so many organizations are marking the commemoration of the 1967 Rebellion. Developed in partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts, The Wright's Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion, in tandem with its sister exhibition, Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement, open July 23. It has been a wonderful collaboration, and will offer visitors a multilayered look at a subject fraught with historical significance. It is imperative these and the commemorative works of all of our many partner organizations reach as wide an audience as possible. The need for understanding, for acceptance, and for action is the reason for the myriad of exhibits, performances, poems, artworks, songs and stories, to be seen, heard and ingested. It's through this process that we'll come to understand our history, one another, and what meaningful action must entail.

The Wright's 50th anniversary commemoration began one year ago on July 23, 2016, with the unveiling of Kresge Eminent Artist Charles McGee's sculpture United We Stand. This was a call for unity.

Maya Angelou said: "History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." Let us have the courage to face this history.

One year later that call, like the landmark, still stands. The time to heed its mandate and move forward is now.


Juanita Moore,
President & CEO

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President's Message, July 2016

The vision of The Wright Museum is of a world in which the adversity and achievement of African American history inspire everyone toward greater understanding, acceptance, and unity. The African American struggle for equality and justice, which is foundational to the American experience, resides not only in this country's history but also in that of the city of Detroit. The 1967 Rebellion erupted as a response to longstanding injustices including segregation, inequality and police brutality. Too often our reflections on this pivotal time are dictated by erroneous information and our perceived differences. It is our obligation as Americans to separate fact from fiction, and better understand the true nature of these events so we may come together and move forward in unity.

As we approach the rebellion's 50th anniversary, The Wright is proud to announce the unveiling of United We Stand, a work of tremendous importance to the city and region. Created by Kresge Eminent Artist Charles McGee, this permanent outdoor sculpture will reside at the Museum's entrance and serve as a Detroit destination and testament to our collective desire for healing. The unveiling takes place Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 3:30 PM. I invite you to join us in witnessing a definitive moment for our institution and this city's history. After a short program with remarks by Charles McGee and other distinguished guests, attendees will enjoy family activities, entertainment, food trucks, and intercultural performances that highlight our unity, in principle and performance.

United We Stand is made possible by the generous support of The Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Barbara J. Mahone, Serena and Kieth Cockrell, Dr. Vivian Carpenter and Jon Barfield, the Board of Trustees of The Wright Museum, and supporters of this project through the 2015 Crain's Detroit Homecoming. Special thanks are due to Linda Forte and Tyrone Davenport for taking a "stand" with their lead gift and helping to make this incredible work of art a reality.
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We've recently witnessed the passing of music icon Prince Rogers Nelson and boxing great Muhammad Ali. Both of these individuals, through their dedication, discipline, and mastery, impacted their fields in ways that will undoubtedly echo throughout history. The Wright also recently lost one of its great artists and champions, Howard Sims, a Museum trustee whose company, SDG Associates, is Michigan's oldest Black-owned architectural firm. Mr. Sims' innovation and impact on iconic landmarks like Cobo Center, Wayne County Community College and The Wright Museum cannot be overstated. The Museum and the communities it serves will be forever grateful for the vision, dedication, and longstanding support of Howard Sims and his wife Judith.

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President's Message, January 2016

The first 50 years of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History has been a magnificent journey. This journey has involved millions: the millions who make up our ancestral lineage and are the creators of African American history, and the millions who have passed through the doors of The Wright to behold and uphold their legacy. 

In reflecting on the millions who have created and been touched by the work of The Wright Museum, we are reminded of the never-ending wellspring of inspiration, and of the responsibility to carry it forth into the future. There are still many millions to reach, to teach, and to inspire. Our world, now more than ever, is so deeply in need of understanding, acceptance, and unity. Through the exploration and celebration of the adversity and achievement of African American history, our work can help achieve these things.

In carrying forth, change is inevitable. At the end of 2015, Elizabeth "Betty" Brooks completed her tenure as chair of our Board of Trustees, as did vice-chair Keith Cockrell, and we have immense gratitude for their many years of service to The Wright. We are also elated to announce the election of our new chair, Eric Peterson, U.S. vice president, diversity dealer relations for General Motors Company, and vice-chair, Pamela Alexander, director of community development for Ford Motor Company Fund. These passionate and committed supporters of the Museum will surely do an outstanding job of leading the efforts of our board, staff, and institution.

These announcements were made at the Museum's annual meeting held Thursday, December 3, 2015. In addition to her steadfast support of and service to The Wright, Betty Brooks is well known and beloved in the community, having served on numerous boards, including those of the Detroit Historical Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Reading Works. She stated that to serve on The Wright's board was something very special, and she was, "extremely grateful to have had the honor and opportunity." Clearly overcome with emotion, Betty concluded her remarks by stating, "I see (the Museum's) impact, in the summer's festive crowds, the togetherness of a family's Sunday visit, and the sparkle of a child's smile as they are lifted up by their community and taught that their voice, and achievements, matter. I will continue to support this great Museum, and look forward to its next half-century of accomplishment." The board also officially named Betty as The Wright's chair emeritus. It is an honor she has certainly earned.

Following Betty's remarks, chairman-elect Eric Peterson promised to continue the trajectory of growth the Museum has seen over the past few years. "We can – and will – aim to be the best... and provide a standard of quality that will take us from being the largest, to the leading, museum of African American history in the world."

Click here to download our January - March 2016 Member Newsletter
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