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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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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

(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

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2016 Summer Camp Africa Registration Form

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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.
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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Encore!: Reintroducing the 2016 Ford Freedom Award Essay Contest Winners

In conjunction with the 2016 Ford Freedom Award, Ford Motor Company, in collaboration with Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Detroit Newspapers in Education celebrated the positive contributions of African American men through a statewide essay contest that award over to $10,000 in scholarships. Approximately 1,000 Michigan-based public, private, parochial and home-school students in grades four through eight participated in a student essay contest as part of the African American Men of Courage program. Students were asked to write how these men demonstrate qualities of courage, and tell how those attributes have helped them find success in their own life and community.

Due to the superior skills, moving stories, and unique characteristics showcased by this year's group of finalist, Ford awarded each student with a $250 scholarship. The top five contestants, lead by grand prize winner Damond Dixon, who wrote about his older brother, Aaron, are recognized below. Their prizes ranged from $500 - $5,000 in scholarships. 

(Left to right) Wright Museum Trustee Jimmy Settles, Carrington Wash, Louisa Karoub, Sarah Miller, Damond Dixon, and former Detroit Lion Lomas Brown.

First Place Winner

Damond Dixon, Golightly Education Center, 6th grade

I'm very thankful for having my brother in my life. He gets most of his knowledge form my dad who was also a man of courage. I wouldn't have turned out the same without them. I'm very proud to be his little brother and I think he feels the same way. My big brother Aaron, a man of courage.

Second Place Winner (shared)

Lillian Deering, Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy, 8th grade

... We are set to choose between a path of corruption that is paved with diamonds and trite security and a path laden with infinitely more obstacles, yet glistening of adventurous beauty and daring. The first path is mundane, black and white, whereas, the latter is bursting with color. Only the greatest artists and bohemian souls dare choose the second, date live the life of a romantic. With the guidance of one of the first African Americans to do this, Paul Laurence Dunbar, I will take to the sky.

Author and Ford Courage Award recipient Shaka Senghor with son, Sekou.

Second Place Winner (shared)

Louisa Karoub, West Hills Middle School, 8th grade 

Malcom said to Alex Haley in his autobiography that "I never trusted a man without a watch. A man without a watch does not value time." I am young American, and my intention is to change this planet for the better and my role model is Malcom X. 

Third Place Winner

Carrington Wash, Southfield Christian School, 4th grade

 My grandfather's creativity and love for music inspires my desire to praise and worship God through music, dance, and sign-language. My grandfather, Ernest Kelley, provided me with wings of courage to celebrate the person I am and will become through a lifetime of service and gratitude.

Our Men of Courage, along with President and CEO Juanita Moore and mother of Ford Freedom Honoree Reginald Lewis, Carolyn Fugget.

Fourth Place Winner

Sarah Miller, Trinity Lutheran School, 7th grade

I aspire to model as much courage and provide as much inspiration as Asa Philip Randolph. When the invisible could not speak, he gave them a voice. When the mistreated list all hope, he helped them fight. I dream of the day that I can accomplish a fraction of what Asa Philip Randolph has accomplished; however, nothing is achieved all at once. 

Fifth Place Winner

Dan Brown, Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy, 7th grade

Jaylen D. Bledsoe has shown society that African Americans can do anything if they believe in what they want to do in life. Jaylen D. Bledsoe has many characteristics and qualities, some of which are being smart, honest, encouraging, being confident, and being a motivator. All these characteristics can help me be successful in my life. 

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Usher, Jerome Bettis, Angie Stone and Doug E. Fresh to join Ford Freedom Award Event Celebrating Men of Courage

Usher, Jerome Bettis, Angie Stone and Doug E. Fresh to join Ford Freedom Award Event Celebrating Men of Courage
Ford Freedom Award Scholar Dave Bing



Lisa Wilmore

Ntouch Communications 


Nikia Washington

The Wright Museum

(313) 494-5866

Usher, Jerome Bettis, Angie Stone and Doug E. Fresh to join Ford Freedom Award Event Celebrating Men of Courage

2016 Ford Freedom Award to honor businessman Dave Bing, an NBA Hall of Famer and former Detroit mayor, and the late business tycoon Reginald F. Lewis, a Wall Street lawyer and philanthropist
First-ever Ford Courage Award honorees to include Shaka Senghor, criminal justice reform advocate, and Jonathan Butler, University of Missouri student activist
Musical performances by Angie Stone, Doug E. Fresh, Avery Wilson and Syncopated Ladies; appearances by Grammy winner Usher and NFL Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis

DEARBORN, Mich., May 9, 2016 – Ford Motor Company, in collaboration with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, will celebrate the positive contributions of African American men at the 18th annual Ford Freedom Award program.

This year's theme – Men of Courage: Advancing the Narrative of African American Men – will celebrate achievements of the past, present and future, while highlighting select African American men for their diverse, complex and valiant stories. The program recognizes the empowering impact of these men on their families and communities, along with their servant leadership, professional excellence and personal courage.

The Ford Freedom Award event takes place May 17, 6-9 p.m., at Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (DSO Orchestra Hall) in Detroit. Tickets are $50 per person. A limited number of platinum VIP reception tickets – which include champagne and a red carpet experience – are available for $150. To purchase tickets or for additional event information, call the music center box office, 313.576.5111, or visit

"Ford is proud to join the Wright Museum in saluting the positive contributions of African American men," said Ziad Ojakli, group vice president, government and community relations, Ford Motor Company. "Their leadership through family, business and philanthropy has been felt throughout American communities. They are true unsung heroes, and we are proud to honor such a diverse and accomplished group of men this year."

The Ford Freedom Award honoree is a distinguished African American who dedicated his or her life to improving the African American community and the world at large. This year's recipient is the late Reginald F. Lewis, a business tycoon, Wall Street lawyer and philanthropist renowned for his character, generosity and business acumen.

This year's Ford Freedom Award scholar is Dave Bing, founder and chairman, Bing Youth Institute, an NBA Hall of Famer and the 62nd mayor of Detroit. The scholar serves as a living legacy, carrying forth the ideals of the honoree and furthering those achievements for a new generation.

In addition, Ford will present the inaugural Ford Courage Awards honoring three courageous individuals in the areas of family, community and sports. The newly added People's Choice Ford Courage Award will be presented to Shaka Senghor, criminal justice reform advocate, TED Talks presenter and New York Times best-selling author. Senghor was selected via an online nomination video contest established in part through the Men of Courage project.

Other Ford Courage Award honorees expected to be on hand include Kerlin Blaise, former NFL player and successful businessman, president and owner of Blaze Contracting; and Jonathan Butler, University of Missouri graduate student activist and hunger striker. Grammy-nominated artist Angie Stone, hip hop icon Doug E. Fresh, season 3 contestant, The Voice, singer-songwriter and dancer Avery Wilson and famed tap-dancers Syncopated Ladies will perform.

Usher Raymond IV, Grammy award-winning artist and activist, and Jerome Bettis, Detroit native, NFL Hall of Famer and football analyst, will also both attend the event and participate as presenters.

"The Ford Freedom Award provides the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History a unique platform to pay tribute to some of America's greatest influencers," said Juanita Moore, president and CEO, The Wright Museum. "Honoree Reginald Lewis, who was undoubtedly influenced by African American trailblazers that came before him, understood the fundamental importance of African American history in inspiring others to blaze their own trails."

Ford Motor Company's support of the African American community dates back to the early 20th century when it was the largest employer of African Americans in the auto industry. Now, Ford is building on that support with signature initiatives that include Ford Freedom Unsung, Ford Blue Oval Scholars and Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Challenge.

The Ford Freedom Award program is made possible by a grant from Ford Motor Company Fund, the charitable arm of Ford Motor Company. Proceeds from the Ford Freedom Award event will benefit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which is observing its 51st anniversary.

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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 201,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company's core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. At the same time, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company's plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide or Ford Motor Credit Company, visit

About the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History provides learning opportunities, exhibitions, programs and events based on collections and research that explore the diverse history and culture of African Americans and their African origins. Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue 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

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This Week in Black History | May 8 - 14, 2016

May 13, 1914

Detroit's Brown Bomber

Joe Louis, hall of fame boxer known as "the Brown Bomber", was born Joseph Louis Barrow in La Fayette, Alabama but raised in Detroit, Michigan. Louis made his amateur boxing debut in 1932 and at the end of his amateur career in 1934 had a record of 50 wins and 4 losses. Louis turned professional in 1934 and won the Associated Press' 1935 Athlete of the Year Award. He won the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship in 1937 and thousands of African Americans across the country stayed up all night celebrating. Louis held the championship for 140 consecutive months and had 25 successful title defenses, both records for the heavyweight division. His defeat of the German Max Schmeling and his service during World War II made him the first African American to achieve the status of national hero in the United States. He was awarded the Legion of Merit medal in 1945 for "incalculable contribution to the general morale". Louis initially retired from boxing in 1949 but had to return due to financial problems. Louis received about $800,000 of the more than $4.5 million earned during his boxing career and was generous with that. He retired for good in 1951 with a record of 65 wins and 3 losses. Louis died April 12, 1981. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1982. A monument to Louis was dedicated in Detroit October 16, 1986 and he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. Joe Louis Arena in Detroit is named in his honor. He became the first boxer to be honored with a commemorative postage stamp by the United States Postal Service in 1993 and an 8 foot bronze statue of him was unveiled in La Fayette February 27, 2010. Louis was named the greatest heavyweight of all time by the International Boxing Research Organization. He published his autobiography, "Joe Louis: My Life", in 1978. Other biographies include "Joe Louis, Brown Bomber" (1980) and "Joe Louis: The Great Black Hope" (1998). His name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

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May 8, 1888

The Predecessor to the Tricycle

Matthew A. Cherry of Washington, D. C. received patent number 382,351 for new and useful improvements in velocipede. His invention consisted of a metal frame with two or three wheels attached. It was capable of carrying three or more people and was propelled by someone sitting on the seat and moving their feet along the ground in a fast walking or running motion. His invention has evolved into what we now call bicycles and tricycles. Cherry received patent number 531,908 for a streetcar fender January 1, 1895. The fender, which was a piece of metal attached to the front of the streetcar, acted as a shock absorber in the event of an accident. This reduced the potential damage to the streetcar and added safety for the passengers and employees. Nothing else is known of Cherry's life.

May 9, 1897

Harlem Renaissance Author

Rudolph John Chauncey Fisher, physician and author, was born in Washington, D. C. but raised in Providence, Rhode Island. Fisher earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and biology in 1919 and his Master of Arts degree in 1920 from Brown University. He won several public speaking contests during his time at Brown, including first place at an intercollegiate contest at Harvard University in 1917. He also was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Fisher earned his medical degree from Howard University Medical School, with highest honors, in 1924. He moved to New York City in 1925 and established a private medical practice. Fisher published his first short story, "City of Refuge", that same year. He went on to write two acclaimed novels, "The Walls of Jericho" (1928) and "The Conjure-Man Dies" (1932) which was the first published detective novel with a Black detective. He is considered one of the major literary figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Fisher died December 26, 1934. An anthology of his short stories, "City of Refuge: The Collected Stories of Rudolph Fisher", was published in 1991.

Photo Source: Wordpress / tashqueedagg

May 10, 1837

First Black U.S. State Governor

Benton Stewart Pinchback, the first African American to become governor of a state in the United States, was born in Macon, Georgia. He made his way to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1862 and raised several companies of the Corps d'Afrique for the Union Army during the Civil War and was one of the few officers of African ancestry. Pinchback resigned his commission because of racial prejudice against Black officers. He was elected to the Louisiana State Senate in 1868 and became the acting Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana in 1871. The incumbent governor was removed from office and Pinchback became governor December 9, 1872 and served until January 13, 1873. He received vicious hate mail from around the country as well as threats on his life during that 35 day period. Pinchback was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1874 and the U. S. Senate in 1876. Pinchback also served on the Louisiana State Board of Education and was instrumental in establishing Southern University and served on their board of trustees. President Chester A. Arthur appointed Pinchback surveyor of customs in New Orleans in 1882. Pinchback later moved to Washington, D. C. where he practiced law until his death December 21, 1921. His biography, "Pickney Benton Stewart Pinchback", was published in 1973.

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May 11, 1986

The NFL's First Black Head Coach

Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard, hall of fame football coach and the first African American head coach in the National Football League, died. Pollard was born January 27, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois. He played college football at Brown University from 1915 to 1918. Pollard played professional football with the Akron Pros and led them to the NFL championship in 1920. He became co-head coach of the team in 1921. Pollard and the other Black players in the NFL were banned from playing at the end of the 1926 season. He continued to coach all-Black barnstorming teams until 1937. Pollard was also involved in a number of business enterprises, including an investment firm, a newspaper, and a booking agency. Pollard was posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Fritz Pollard Award is annually presented to a college or professional coach chosen by the Black Coaches Association. The Fritz Pollard Alliance is an organization "promoting diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching, front office and scouting staffs of National Football League teams". Pollard's biography, "Fritz Pollard: Pioneer in Racial Advancement", was published in 1999.

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May 12, 1874

"The Real McCoy" Strikes Again

Elijah J. McCoy of Ypsilanti, Michigan received patent number 150,876 for Improvements in Ironing-Tables. His invention provided additional stability for the ironing board and still allowed it to be folded and stored when not in use. McCoy was a prolific inventor and received 57 patents, mostly related to lubrication. McCoy was born May 2, 1843 in Colchester, Ontario, Canada. His parents had escaped enslavement to Canada. McCoy studied engineering in Edinburgh, Scotland and found work with the Michigan Central Railroad after moving to Ypsilanti, Michigan. He moved to Detroit, Michigan around 1880 and formed the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company in 1920. McCoy died October 10, 1929. A Michigan historical marker was placed at the site of his Detroit home in 1975 and Elijah McCoy Drive in Detroit is named in his honor. He was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2001 and the 2006 play "The Real McCoy" chronicled his life and inventions. His biography, also titled "The Real McCoy", was published in 2007. His name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

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May 14, 1970

Relentless American Hero

Charles Calvin Rogers received the Congressional Medal of Honor, America's highest military decoration from President Richard M. Nixon for his actions during the Vietnam War. Rogers was born September 6, 1929 in Claremont, West Virginia. He joined the United States Army and was serving as a lieutenant colonel in command of 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Infantry Division by 1968. His battalion was manning a fire support base near the Cambodian border November 1, 1968 when it came under heavy attack. His actions during the attack earned him the medal. His citation partially reads, "In the early morning hours, the fire support base was subjected to a concentrated bombardment of heavy mortar, rocket and rocket propelled grenade fire. Simultaneously the position was struck by a human wave ground assault, led by sappers who breached the defensive barriers with bangalore torpedoes and penetrated the defensive perimeter. Lt. Col. Rogers with complete disregard for his safety moved through the hail of fragments from bursting enemy rounds to the embattled area. He aggressively rallied the dazed artillery crewmen to man their howitzers and he directed their fire on the assaulting enemy. Although knocked to the ground and wounded by an exploding round, Lt. Col. Rogers sprang to his feet and led a small counterattack force against an enemy element that had penetrated the howitzer positions. Although painfully wounded a second time during the assault, Lt. Col. Rogers pressed the attack killing several of the enemy and driving the remainder from the positions. Refusing medical treatment, Lt. Col. Rogers reestablished and reinforced the defensive positions. As a second human wave attack was launched against another sector of the perimeter, Lt. Col. Rogers directed artillery fire on the assaulting enemy and led a second counterattack against the enemy forces. His valorous example rallied the beleaguered defenders to repulse and defeat the enemy onslaught. Lt. Col. Rogers moved from position to position through the heavy enemy fire, giving encouragement and direction to his men. At dawn the determined enemy launched a third assault against the fire base in an attempt to overrun the position. Lt. Col. Rogers moved to the threatened area and directed lethal fire on the enemy forces. Seeing a howitzer inoperative due to casualties, Lt. Col Rogers joined the surviving members of the crew to return the howitzer to action. While directing the position defense, Lt. Col. Rogers was seriously wounded by fragments from a heavy mortar round which exploded on the parapet of the gun position. Although too severely wounded to physically lead the defenders, Lt. Col. Rogers continued to give encouragement and direction to his men in the defeating and repelling of the enemy attack." Rogers rose to the rank of major general before leaving the army. He later became a Baptist minister serving U. S. troops in Germany where he died September 21, 1990.

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This WEEK in Black History | 8 Prince Facts You May Not Know (with graphics)

On April 21, 2016 the world lost a fascinating performer, entertainer, musician, creator and human being. Prince inspired uniqueness, thinking outside of the box and the courage take pride in your individuality - like that one time when he changed his name to a symbol:

"I follow what God tells me to do," Prince explained. "It said, 'Change your name,' and I changed my name to a symbol ready for Internet use before I knew anything about the Internet." In May 2000, he went back to being Prince. Although his motivations may sometimes seem mysterious, Prince is never uninteresting and always capable one more hit record or a return to stardom. ​VIA: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum.

Here's 8 more Prince facts you may not know:

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​In fact, the star often credited James Brown as his musical idol. Check out this throwback JET article where he praises Brown.

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Listen to this interview from June 7, 1986 where Prince surprises Charles Johnson (AKA: The Electrifying Mojo) with a surprise phone call to WHYT Detroit.

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Prince performing on stage - Purple Rain tour Photograph: Ebet Roberts/Redferns
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Nikia Washington

The Wright Museum

(313) 494-5866

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New "People's Lawyers" lecture series premieres with Robinson talk + book signing

Photo Credit: Lamar Lander

April 19, 2016 - DETROIT, MI: Attorney, author, professor and television series producer Randall Robinson will appear for two upcoming events April 23 and 24 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Robinson's first appearance takes place at the launch of the new Charles H. Houston People's Lawyer Series on Saturday, April 23. On Sunday, April 24 at the acclaimed Liberation Film Series, Robinson speaks on his most recent novel, Makeda, and hosts a book signing after the event.

Robinson, professor of law at Penn State Law School and creator, co-producer, and host of the public television human rights series "World on Trial," serves as the keynote speaker for both events.

"A curiosity about, and fascination with, African and African-American history is as vital to our strength as a community as oxygen and water are to human existence," said Robinson. "Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History feeds this curiosity and fascination and – most importantly - clears our path to self-knowledge, self-love and self-preservation."

The Charles Hamilton Houston People's Lawyers Series was inspired by Carl R. Edwards, Esq., Detroit attorney who established and expanded the People's Law School, a community-focused outreach forum in Michigan that evolved into a national model for replication. Edwards is to introduce Randall Robinson at the April 23 program, wherein Robinson speaks on "Reparations and The Prison Menace in Black America." On April 24, Robinson appears at the Liberation Film Series to discuss his most recent novel, Makeda, with a focus on Haiti and Mali. Part coming-of-age story, part spiritual journey, and part love story, Makeda is a universal tale of family, heritage, and the ties that bind. Also included are an excerpt of film Aristide and the Endless Revolution and book signing.

The People's Lawyers Series premiere event begins at 3 PM on April 23 and the Liberation Film Series with Makeda book signing begins at 3 PM on April 24. Both events are free and open to the public.

About Randall Robinson

Randall Robinson, Esq., (b. 6 July 1941), an internationally respected social justice advocate and best-selling author, is a professor of human rights law at Pennsylvania State University. In 1979, Robinson established TransAfrica, the mandate of which was to promote enlightened, progressive U.S. policies towards Africa and the Caribbean. He created – and hosts – the human rights public television program "World On Trial", during which international juries vote on world governments' adherence to international human rights law.

About the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue 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


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This WEEK in Black History | April 10 - 16, 2016

April 10, 1975

Robert Lee Elder became the first African American to play in the Masters Golf Tournament. Elder was born July 14, 1934 in Dallas, Texas. He dropped out of high school and worked as a caddy where he developed his game by watching his clients. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1959 and served until 1961. After his discharge, he joined the United Golf Association Tour for Black golfers where he won 18 of 22 tournaments. Elder gained his Professional Golf Association tour card in 1968 and won his first PGA tournament in 1974. That came at the Monsanto Open in Pensacola, Florida where Elder and other Black players had to change their clothes in the parking lot because the club members would not allow non-White people into the clubhouse. The win gained him entry into the 1975 Masters Tournament. Elder received a substantial amount of hate mail and threats leading up to the tournament. Elder became the first African American to qualify to play in the Ryder Cup in 1979 and joined the Senior PGA Tour in 1984. Elder has won four PGA tournaments and eight senior tournaments. He established the Lee Elder Scholarship Fund in 1974 to offer financial aid to low-income men and women seeking college assistance. He has actively promoted summer youth golf development programs and raised​.

April 11, 1881

Spelman College, the oldest historically Black college for females, was founded as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary by two teachers from Massachusetts with 11 students and $100. The school relocated to a nine acre site in 1883 and John D. Rockefeller provided funding to retire the debt on the property in 1884. The name of the school was changed to Spelman Seminary in honor of Rockefeller's wife. Sophia B. Packard was appointed the first president in 1888. The school became Spelman College in 1924, it became part of the Atlanta University Center in 1929, and it was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1932. The campus consists of 26 buildings on 39 acres with 2,200 students and 180 faculty members today. Notable alumnae include Pearl Cleage, Marian Wright Edelman, Bernice Johnson Regon, and Alice Walker.


April 12, 1968

A Michigan Historical Marker commemorating the First Michigan Colored Infantry was installed in Detroit, Michigan. The First Michigan Colored Infantry was formed February 17, 1863. It was organized on a farm with 845 Black men from Detroit, southern Michigan, and Ontario, Canada. Many of the volunteers had escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad and others were fighting to free family members still enslaved. The unit was re-designated the 102nd Regiment United States Colored Troops May 23, 1864. The 102nd fought throughout South Carolina, eastern Georgia, and Florida during the Civil War. They served occupation duty after the war until they were disbanded October 17, 1865.

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April 13, 1964

Sidney Poitier became the first Black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the movie "Lilies of the Field". Poitier was born February 20, 1927 in Miami, Florida. He moved to New York City at 17 and joined the American Negro Theater. He made his film debut in "No Way Out" (1950) but his breakout role was in "Blackboard Jungle" (1955). Poitier acted in the first production of "A Raisin in the Sun" on Broadway in 1959 and starred in the film version in 1961. Other films in which he has appeared include "The Defiant Ones" (1958), "A Patch of Blue" (1965), "In the Heat of the Night" (1967), and "The Jackal" (1997). He has also directed a number of films, including "Buck and the Preacher" (1972), "Stir Crazy" (1980), and "Ghost Dad" (1990). He has also written three autobiographies, "This Life" (1980), "The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography" (2000), and "Life Beyond Measure – Letters to My Great-Granddaughter" (2008). Poitier was appointed ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan in 1997. He received an honorary award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences "in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being" in 2002. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, by President Barack H. Obama August 12, 2009 and the 2016 BAFTA Fellowship, the highest honor bestowed by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts "in recognition of outstanding achievement in the art forms of the moving image". The documentary "Sidney Poitier: an Outsider in Hollywood" was released in 2008. Poitier published a novel, "Montaro Caine", in 2013.

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April 14, 1943

Joseph Charles Jenkins became the first officially recognized African American commissioned officer in the United States Coast Guard. Jenkins was born in 1914 in Detroit, Michigan. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Michigan and his Master of Business Administration degree from Wayne State University. Jenkins helped organize what would become the 1279th Combat Engineer Battalion of the Michigan National Guard in the late 1930s. He enlisted in the coast guard in 1942 as a boatswain's mate first class and was quickly promoted to chief. After completing officer training, Jenkins was commissioned as an ensign on this date. Jenkins completed active duty with the coast guard in 1945 and returned to the Michigan National Guard in the African American Engineering Unit where he rose to the rank of captain. He resigned from the guard in 1947 and went to work for the Michigan State Highway Department where he was the assistant director of the Metropolitan Detroit area when he died July 28, 1959.

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April 15, 1894

Bessie Smith, hall of fame blues singer, was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Smith was hired as a dancer with the Moses Stokes troupe, which included Ma Rainey, in 1912. She had starred with Sidney Bechet in "How Come?," a musical that made its way to Broadway, and had become the biggest headliner and highest paid entertainer on the Black Theater Owners Association circuit by the early 1920s. Smith was signed by Columbia Records as part of their "race records" series in 1923 and she scored a hit with her first recording, "Downhearted Blues," which sold 780,000 records in the first six months after release. The recording was included by the National Recording Preservation Board in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry as "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" in 2002. It is also listed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame as a recording of "lasting qualitative or historical significance" in 2006. Smith made 160 recordings for Columbia. She made her last recordings in 1933 and they included "Take Me For A Buggy Ride" and "Gimme a Pigfoot," both of which remain among her most popular recordings. Her single "Empty Bed Blues" (1928) was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1983. Smith died September 26, 1937. She was posthumously inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1967 and the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980. She was posthumously honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in her honor in 1994. Her life is the subject of the play "The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith." Her biography, "Bessie", was published in 1972 and a television movie of the same title covering her life from 1913 to 1927 was released in 2015.

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April 16, 1928

Richard "Dick Night Train" Lane, hall of fame football player, was born in Austin, Texas. Lane made his professional football debut with the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League as a defensive back in 1952. He set the NFL single season record for interceptions with 14 in 12 games in his rookie season, a record that stands to this day even though the season has been expanded to 16 games. Lane played with the Detroit Lions from 1960 to 1965 and was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection during his 14 season NFL career. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974 and was ranked 19th on Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players in 1999. Lane died January 29, 2002. He published his autobiography, "Night Train Lane: The Life of NFL Hall of Famer Richard "Night Train" Lane," in 2001.
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This WEEK in Black History | April 3 - April 10, 2016

April 3, 1968

"Like anybody, I would like to live a long life ... But I'm not concerned about that now ... I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!​"

- King, 1968
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech in support of the striking sanitation workers at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee, the day before he was assassinated.​ On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr., clergyman, activist and leader of the Civil Rights Movement, was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.​ A memorial to King at the National Mall in Washington, D. C. opened October 16, 2011.​ His name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

Transcript to above video:
Excerpt One: Now about injunctions: We have an injunction and we're going into court tomorrow morning to fight this illegal, unconstitutional injunction. All we say to America is, "Be true to what you said on paper." If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand some of these illegal injunctions. Maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren't going to let dogs or water hoses turn us around, we aren't going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.

Excerpt Two: Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.And I don't mind.Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!​ And so I'm happy, tonight.I'm not worried about anything.I'm not fearing any man!Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!

Video Source: YouTube

April 4, 1913

Muddy Waters, hall of fame blues musician and "the Father of Chicago Blues," was born McKinley Morganfield in Issaquena County, Mississippi. Waters started out playing the harmonica but was playing the guitar at parties by 17. He moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1943 and drove a truck and worked in a factory by day and performed at night. Waters had his first big hits with "I Can't Be Satisfied" and "I Feel Like Going Home" in 1948. Other hits followed, including "Rollin' Stone" (1950), "Hoochie Coochie Man" (1954), "Mannish Boy" (1955), and "Got My Mojo Working" (1956), all of which have been listed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as among the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. Waters won Grammy Awards for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording in 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1978, and 1979. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980. Waters died April 30, 1983. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1994. Several of his recordings are in the Grammy Hall of Fame as recordings of "lasting qualitative or historical significance," including "Hoochie Coochie Man" inducted in 1998, "Got My Mojo Working" inducted in 1999, "Rollin' Stone" inducted in 2000, and "I Fell Like Going Home" inducted in 2010. His biography, "Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters," was published in 2002.

April 5, 1856

Booker Taliaferro Washington, educator, author and political leader, was born enslaved on the Burroughs Plantation in Virginia. His family gained their freedom at the end of the Civil War and Washington was educated at Hampton Institute and Wayland Seminary. In 1881, Washington was appointed the first leader of Tuskegee Institute (now University) in 1881 and headed it for the rest of his life. Washington was the dominant leader of the African American community from 1890 to his death November 14, 1915. This was particularly true after his Atlanta Exposition speech delivered September 18, 1895 where he appealed to White people to give Black people a chance to work and develop separately and implied that he would not demand the vote. Washington associated with the richest and most powerful businessmen of the era and became a conduit for their funding of African American educational programs. As a result, numerous schools for Black students were established through his efforts. At the invitation of President Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Washington became the first African American to visit the White House for a formal dinner October 16, 1901. Washington authored four books, including his best- selling autobiography "Up From Slavery" (1901). He was the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp when the U. S. Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1940. The Liberty Ship Booker T. Washington was launched in his honor September 29, 1942, the first major ocean going vessel to be named after an African American. Washington was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Great Americans in 1945 and numerous schools around the country are named in his honor. Biographies of Washington include "Booker T. Washington: Educator and Interracial Interpreter" (1948) and "Booker T. Washington and the Negro's Place in American Life" (1955). His name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

Photo Source: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. via

April 6, 1712

 The New York City Slave Revolt started when 23 enslaved Africans killed nine White people and injured six. As a result, 70 Black people were arrested and jailed, 27 were put on trial and 21 were convicted and executed. Also, laws governing the lives of Black people in New York were made more restrictive. Africans were not permitted to gather in groups of more than three, crimes such as property damage, rape, and conspiracy were made punishable by death, and free black people were not allowed to own land.

Photo Source: ​Public domain ​via

April 7, 2010

Willie O'Ree, the first Black player in the National Hockey League, received the Order of Canada, the highest civilian award for a Canadian citizen. O'Ree was born October 15, 1935 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He started his minor league hockey career in 1957 and made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins January 18, 1958. He played in only two games that year and was sent back to the minor leagues until 1961 when he played in 43 games. He scored 10 goals and had 10 assists in his 45 game NHL career, all in 1961. O"Ree noted that "racist remarks were much worse in the United States than in Canada" during his NHL career. O'Ree played in the minor leagues from 1961 to his retirement in 1978, winning two scoring titles. O'Ree was appointed Director of Youth Development for the NHL/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force, which encourages minority youth to learn and play hockey, in 1998. The City of Fredericton named a new sports complex in his honor in 2008. O'Ree published his autobiography, "The Autobiography of Willie O'Ree: Hockey's Black Pioneer," in 2000.

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April 8, 1960

 The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, one of the principal organizations of the Civil Rights Movement, was founded after a series of student meetings led by Ella Baker at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Future leaders attending those meetings included Stokely Carmichael, Julian Bond, Diane Nash, John Lewis, James Bevel, and Marion Barry who served as the first chairman of SNCC. SNCC was primarily focused on voter registration in the South and conducted the Freedom Ballot in Mississippi in 1963. They conducted the Mississippi Summer Project to organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to win seats at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. SNCC also established Freedom Schools to teach children to read and to educate them to stand up for their rights. SNCC ceased operations in the 1970s. Books about SNCC include "In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s" (1981), "The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee" (1989), and "A Circle of Trust: Remembering SNCC" (1998).

Photo Source: Tumblr/  @fuckyeahmarxismleninism

April 9, 1939

Marian Anderson performed her critically acclaimed concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience of millions. She performed there, with the aid of President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, because the Daughters of the American Revolution refused permission for her to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall. Anderson was born February 27, 1897 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She began singing at local functions for small change at six and got her first break in 1925 when she won a singing contest sponsored by the New York Philharmonic. Anderson became the first Black person to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955 and sang at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. She also sang for President Dwight D. Eisenhower's inauguration in 1957 and President John F. Kennedy's in 1961. She published her autobiography, "My Lord, What a Morning", in 1956. Anderson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from President Lyndon B. Johnson December 6, 1963. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, she received the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 1939 Spingarn Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal in 1977, Kennedy Center Honors in 1978, the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor bestowed on an individual artist by the United States, from President Ronald W. Reagan July 14, 1986, and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991. Anderson died April 8, 1993 and the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in her honor later that year. The 1939 documentary film "Marian Anderson: The Lincoln Memorial Concert" was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2001 as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". A number of biographies about Anderson have been published, including "Marian Anderson: A Singer's Journey" (2002) and "The Voice that Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights" (2004). Her name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

Photo Source:  Betsy Graves Reyneau, 1888-1964, Artist (NARA record: 4772241)- U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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This WEEK in Black History | March 27 - April 2, 2016

March 27, 1970

Mariah Carey, singer, songwriter and actress, was born in Long Island, New York. Carey began singing at three and was working as a demo singer for local recording studios by high school. She co-wrote the tracks on her 1990 debut album, "Mariah Carey," which won her the Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the single "Vision of Love." Carey was the first recording artist to have her first five singles top the Billboard chart. Subsequent albums by Carey include "Music Box" (1993), "Butterfly" (1997), "The Emancipation of Mimi" (2005), "E=MC2" (2008), and "Me. I Am Mariah……The Elusive Chanteuse" (2014). She has sold more than 200 million albums, singles and videos worldwide and earned five Grammy Awards. She received Billboard's Artist of the Decade Award and the World Music Award for Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium in 2000. VH1 ranked her second on their list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music in 2012. Carey made her movie acting debut in "The Bachelor" (1999). Her first starring role was in the much maligned "Glitter" (2001), however she returned in "Precious" (2009) and won the Breakthrough Actress Performance Award at the International Film Festival. She directed and starred in the television movie "A Christmas Melody" in 2015. Time magazine listed her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2008. Carey is a philanthropist who has donated time and money to many youth oriented organizations, including Camp Mariah which enables youth to embrace the arts and introduces them to career opportunities.

Photo Source: Mariah Carey at the premiere of Tennessee at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival by David Shankbone via Wikipedia

March 28, 1958

William Christopher "W. C." Handy, hall of fame blues composer and musician, died. Handy was born November 16, 1873 in Florence, Alabama. Handy received a teaching degree from Huntsville Teachers Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1892. He became bandmaster of Mahara's Colored Minstrels at 23 and toured throughout the United States and Cuba over the next three years. He taught music at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes (now Alabama A&M University) from 1900 to 1902. He returned to leading bands in 1903 and touring with the Knights of Pythias which he led for the next six years. The 1912 publication of his "Memphis Blues" sheet music was credited as the inspiration for the foxtrot dance step and many consider it the first blues song. Handy had also published "Beale Street Blues" and "St. Louis Blues" by 1917. Bessie Smith's recording of "St. Louis Blues" with Louis Armstrong is considered one of the finest recordings of the 1920s. Handy authored "Blues: An Anthology – Complete Words and Music of 53 Great Songs," which was the first work to record, analyze, and describe the blues as an integral part of the history of the United States, in 1926. Handy wrote four other books, including his autobiography, "Father of the Blues: An Autobiography." A movie about his life titled "St. Louis Blues" was released in 1958. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1969. He was posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983, awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, and inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010. Streets in New York, Tennessee, and Alabama are named in his honor and the W. C. Handy Music Festival is held annually in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

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March 29, 1918

Pearl Mae Bailey, jazz vocalist and actress, was born in Southampton County, Virginia. Bailey made her stage debut at 15 when she won an amateur contest in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During World War II, she toured the country with the United Service Organizations, singing and dancing for American troops. She made her Broadway debut in "St. Louis Woman" in 1946 and received a Special Tony Award for the title role in the all-Black production of "Hello Dolly!" in 1968. Bailey also appeared in numerous feature films, including "Carmen Jones" (1954), "Porgy and Bess" (1959), and "Norman, Is That You" (1976). She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University in 1985. She won the 1986 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in Children's Programming for her performance in "Cindy Eller: A Modern Fairy Tale." She published her autobiography, "The Raw Pearl," in 1968. She also published "Talking to Myself" in 1971 and "Between You and Me" in 1989. Bailey was named special adviser to the United States Mission of the United Nations General Assembly in 1975. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from President Ronald W. Reagan October 17, 1988. Bailey died August 17, 1990.

Photo Source: From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, 12 February 1961

March 30, 1948

Naomi Ruth Sims, the first African American supermodel, was born in Oxford, Mississippi but raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sims' early attempts to get modeling work through established agencies were frustrated by racial prejudice, with some telling her that her skin was too dark. Her first break came in August, 1967 when she was photographed for the cover of the New York Times' fashion supplement. Her next breakthrough was when she was selected for a national television campaign for AT&T. She went on to achieve worldwide recognition after that, appearing as the first Black model on the cover of Ladies' Home Journal in 1968 and on the cover of Life Magazine in 1969. Sims retired from modeling in 1973 and started her own business which expanded into a multi-million dollar beauty empire. She also authored several books on modeling, health and beauty, including "All About Health and Beauty for the Black Woman" (1976), "How to Be a Top Model" (1979), and "All About Success for the Black Woman" (1982). Sims died August 1, 2009.

Photo Source: Vogue

March 31, 1870

Thomas Mundy Peterson of Perth Amboy, New Jersey cast the first vote by an African American after the passage of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Peterson cast his vote in a local election to revise the town's charter. After that was approved, Peterson was appointed to the committee to revise the charter. Peterson was born October 6, 1824 in Metuchen, New Jersey. By this date, he was serving as a school custodian and general handyman in Perth Amboy. He later became the town's first African American to hold elected office and also the first to serve on a jury. Peterson died February 4, 1904. Decades later, the school where he worked was renamed in his honor. In New Jersey, March 31 is annually celebrated as Thomas Mundy Peterson Day in recognition of his historic vote.

Photo Source: Tumblr, @gregorygalloway

April 1, 1880

Southern University and A&M College was chartered by the Louisiana General Assembly "for the education of persons of color." Southern opened its doors in New Orleans with 12 students in 1881. Southern University Law Center was established in 1947 because Louisiana State University Law School would not admit African Americans. The Southern University System was established in 1974 consisting of Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, Southern University, New Orleans, Southern University Law Center, Southern University Agricultural Center, and Southern University, Shreveport. The system has approximately 6,300 students and offers associates degrees in 2 areas, bachelor's in 42, master's in 19, and doctorates in 5. Notable alumni include Mel Blount, Avery Johnson, Randy Jackson, Branford Marsalis, Cleo Fields, and Jesse N. Stone.Photo Source: Southern University Systems.

April 2, 1984

John Robert Thompson, Jr. became the first African American head coach to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Championship when Georgetown University defeated the University of Houston in the NCAA basketball tournament finals. Thompson was born September 2, 1941 in Washington, D. C. He played college basketball at Providence College where he led them to the 1963 National Invitational Tournament Championship and was a 1964 All-American. He was Providence's all-time leading scorer when he earned his bachelor's degree in economics in 1964. He later earned his master's degree in guidance and counseling from the University of the District of Columbia. Thompson played two years in the National Basketball Association for the Boston Celtics, retiring in 1966. Thompson coached high school basketball from 1966 to 1971. He was hired to coach Georgetown in 1972 and over the next 27 years led them to 596 wins and 239 losses, including three NCAA Tournament Final Four appearances. Thompson resigned the position in 1999 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame that same year. He was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. The athletic center at Georgetown is named in his honor. Thompson currently serves as a commentator for professional and college basketball games and is on the board of Nike.

Photo Source: The Washington Post

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30 Women You Need To Know | Women's History Month

30 Women You Need To Know | Women's History Month

This Women's History Month The Wright Museum is celebrating women who were and are "Beyond Strong." These 30 educators, politicians,

trailblazers, and owners of a handful of 'firsts' for Blacks & women uphold that title. Click through for facts about 30 women you may or may not


*The Wright Museum does not own any of the images in the above gallery. Please see photo credit in attached document. 

File Name: PhotoCreditSheet.pdf
File Size: 410 kb
Download File
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This WEEK in Black History | March 20 - 26, 2016

March 20, 1948 James Baskett became the first male performer of African descent to receive an Oscar when he received an honorary Academy Award for his performance as Uncle Remus in "Song of the South". Instead of being nominated for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor, he was recognized for his "able and heartwarming characterization of Uncle Remus, friend and storyteller to the children of the world". Although Baskett had a lead role in the film, he was unable to attend the premier in Atlanta, Georgia because of the city's racial segregation laws. Baskett was born February 16, 1904 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

He appeared on Broadway in the all-Black musical revue "Hot Chocolate" in 1929. He also appeared in a number of all-Black films, including "Harlem is Heaven" (1932) and "Straight to Heaven" (1939). Baskett was part of the cast of the "Amos 'n' Andy" radio show from 1944 to his death July 9, 1948.

Photo Source:!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_1200/james-baskett-honorary-oscar-1948.jpg

March 21, 1960 The Sharpville Massacre occurred when South African police opened fire on 5,000 to 7,000 Black protesters, killing 69 and injuring more than 180. The Black South Africans were organized by the Pan Africanist Congress to protest the pass laws which restricted the movement of Black people. When they converged on a local police station, the police opened fire killing and wounding most of the people in the back. Sharpeville marked a turning point, South Africa was increasingly isolated in the international community and the massacre was one of the catalysts for a shift from passive resistance to armed resistance by the PAC and the African National Congress. March 21 is annually commemorated as Human Rights Day in South Africa and the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recognizes the date as the annual International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

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March 22, 1957 Stephanie Dorthea Mills, singer and Broadway star, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Mills appeared in her first play at nine and won Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater a record six times two years later. She made her Broadway debut in the 1968 musical "Maggie Flynn" and recorded her first single, "I Knew It Was Love", in 1973. Mills career took off in 1974 when she portrayed Dorothy in "The Wiz", for which she was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress – Musical. Mills also released her debut album, "Movin' In the Right Direction" in 1974. Mills had her first gold album with "What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin" in 1979 and that was followed by "Sweet Sensation" (1980). That album featured "Never Knew Love Like This Before" which earned Mills the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance – Female. These albums were followed by "Stephanie" (1981) and "Merciless" (1983), both of which were nominated for Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance – Female. Other albums include "If I Were Your Woman" (1987) and "Home" (1989), both of which reached platinum status. Mills took a break from recording to care for her son in 1992. She returned in 2000 and released "Born For This" in 2004 and "Breathless" in 2010. Mills most recently appeared in the 2015 live television production of "The Wiz".

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March 23, 2006 The Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association unveiled a bronze statue of Karl Anthony Malone in front of their stadium and retired his jersey number 32. Malone was born July 24, 1963 in Summerfield, Louisiana. He played college basketball at Louisiana Tech University where he earned the nickname "The Mailman" because he always delivered. Malone was selected by the Jazz in the 1985 NBA Draft. Over his 19 season professional career, Malone was a 13-time All-Star and the NBA Most Valuable Player in 1997 and 1999. He was a member of the Gold medal winning men's basketball team at the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games. Malone retired from basketball in 2004. He was voted one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1996 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. Malone is director of basketball promotions at Louisiana Tech. The Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award, annually presented to the most talented college power forward, was inaugurated in 2015.

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March 24, 1912 Dorothy Irene Height, hall of fame educator and social activist, was born in Richmond, Virginia. Height was awarded a scholarship to Barnard College but when she enrolled she was denied admittance because at that time Barnard only admitted two African Americans per academic year and they had already admitted two. Height then pursued studies at New York University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1932 and Master of Arts degree in psychology in 1933. She started working as a case worker with the New York City Welfare Department and joined the national staff of the Young Women's Christian Association in 1944. She also served as the national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority from 1946 to 1957. Height was named president of the National Council of Negro Women in 1957, a position she held until 1997. Height served on numerous presidential committees, including the President's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped and the President's Committee on the Status of Women. Height was named to the National Council for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research in 1974, established in response to the "Tuskegee Syphillis Study". Height also served as chair of the executive committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. She received many awards and honors, including the Presidential Citizens Medal in 1989, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 1993 Spingarn Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from President William J. Clinton August 8, 1994. Height was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993 and received the Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush in 2004. Height died April 20, 2010. She published her autobiography, "Open Wide the Freedom Gates: A Memoir", in 2005.

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March 25, 2009 John Hope Franklin, historian and author, died. Franklin was born January 2, 1915 in Rentiesville, Oklahoma. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University in 1935 and his Master of Arts degree in 1936 and Ph. D. in history in 1941 from Harvard University. He served on the NAACP Legal Defense Fund team that developed the sociological case for Brown v. Board of Education. Franklin's teaching career began at Fisk. He taught at Howard University from 1947 to 1956 and served as chair of the history department at Brooklyn College from 1956 to 1964, the first person of color to head a major history department. Franklin was a professor of history at the University of Chicago from 1964 to 1968 and chair of the department from 1967 to 1970. He was appointed the James B. Duke Professor of History at Duke University in 1983. Franklin published his autobiography, "Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin", in 2005. In it he said "my challenge was to weave into the fabric of American history enough of the presence of Blacks so that the story of the United States could be told adequately and fairly". Franklin authored numerous other books, including "The Free Negro of North Carolina, 1790 – 1860" (1943) and "Racial Equality in America" (1976). The National Endowment for the Humanities selected Franklin for the 1976 Jefferson Lecture, the federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. Franklin was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President William J. Clinton September 29, 1995. Other honors and awards include the 1993 Charles Frankel Prize, the 1995 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Spingarn Medal, and the 2006 John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity.

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March 26, 1984 Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from President Ronald W. Reagan. Robinson was born January 31, 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. He attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was a star athlete, from 1939 to 1941 and served in the United States Army as a first lieutenant from 1942 to 1945. He broke the major league baseball color barrier when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers April 15, 1947. Over his ten season professional career, he won the Rookie of the Year Award, the 1949 National League Most Valuable Player Award, and was selected to six consecutive All-Star teams. Robinson retired in 1956 and was awarded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Spingarn Medal that same year. He helped to establish Freedom National Bank an African American owned and operated financial institution in New York City, in the 1960s. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame July 23, 1962, the first African American to be inducted, and the Hall of Fame of Great Americans in 1970. Robinson died October 24, 1972. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in 1982. Major League Baseball renamed the Rookie of the Year Award the Jackie Robinson Award in 1987 and permanently retired his uniform number 42 in 1997. Robinson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush in 2005. He was posthumously inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. Major League Baseball has recognized April 15 as Jackie Robinson Day at all of their ballparks since 2004. Robinson published his autobiography, "I Never Had It Made", in 1972. There are numerous other books about Robinson, including "Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy" (1983) and "Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America" (2004). The Jackie Robinson Foundation was founded in 1973 and has provided college scholarships worth more than $22 million to more than 1,400 students. Robinson's name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

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Today in Black History, March 1, 2016 | Harry Belafonte

March 1, 1927 Harold George "Harry" Belafonte, Jr., musician, actor and social activist, was born in New York City. Belafonte served in the United States Navy during World War II and after his discharge began his music career singing in clubs to pay for acting classes. He recorded his first single, "Matilda," in 1953 but his breakthrough recording was the album "Calypso" (1956) which was number 1 on Billboard's Top 100 Albums for 31 weeks and on the charts for 99 weeks. One of the songs on that album is his famous "Banana Boat Song." "Banana Boat Song" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2009 and "Calypso" was inducted in 2015 as recordings of "lasting qualitative or historical significance." His album "Belafonte at Carnegie Hall" was inducted in 1999. Belafonte won the Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording for "Swing Dat Hammer" (1960) and the Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording for "An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba" (1965), a collaboration with Mariam Makeba that dealt with the political plight of Black South Africans under apartheid. Belafonte has starred in several films, including "Carmen Jones" (1954), "Island in the Sun" (1957), "Uptown Saturday Night" (1974), "White Man's Burden" (1995), and "Kansas City" (1996), for which he won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor. Belafonte won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his role in the 1953 Broadway revue "John Murray Anderson's Almanac" and the Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Program or Series, the first Black man to win an Emmy, for his 1959 television special "Tonight with Belafonte." Belafonte was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, financially supporting Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s family and raising thousands of dollars to bail out imprisoned protesters. He bankrolled the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee during Freedom Summer in 1964 and was one of the organizers of "We Are the World" to raise funds for Africa in 1985. Belafonte received Kennedy Center Honors in 1989, the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor bestowed on an individual artist by the United States, presented by President William J. Clinton October 13, 1994, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, and the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award from Africare in 2002. Belafonte was the recipient of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 2013 Spingarn Medal and received the 2014 Jean Horsholt Humanitarian Award. He also received an honorary doctorate degree from Berklee College of Music in 2014. "Belafonte: An Unauthorized Biography" was published in 1960 and Belafonte published his autobiography, "My Song," in 2011. "Becoming Belafonte: Black Artist, Public Radical" was published in 2014.
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Today in Black History, February 29, 2016 | Hattie McDaniel

February 29, 1940 Hattie McDaniel became the first Black performer to recieve an Academy Award when she won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in "Gone With the Wind." McDaniel was born June 10, 1895 in Wichita, Kansas. She was a professional singer/songwriter, comedienne, stage and film actress, and radio performer. Over the course of her career, she appeared in more than 300 films, often portraying a maid. In response to criticism from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, she said "I'd rather play a maid and make $700 a week then be one for $7." During World War II, she served as chair of the Negro Division of the Hollywood Victory Committee, providing entertainment for soldiers at military bases. McDaniel died October 26, 1952. Before her death, she expressed that she wanted to be buried in the Hollywood Cemetery with other movie stars, however the owners of the cemetery would not allow it because of her race. McDaniel has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for her contributions to radio and one for motion pictures. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in her honor in 2006. "Her biography, "Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel," was published in 1990.
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Photo Credit: Lamar Lander



Piper Carter

jess Care moore Foundation


Nikia Washington

The Wright Museum

(313) 494-5866


Weekend of Events Include: Concert + Art Exhibition + "They Say I'm Different" Artist Talk

DETROIT - February 26, 2016: This Women's History Month, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the jess Care moore Foundation present the 12th Annual Black WOMEN Rock! (BWR!) Concert Weekend. In addition to a live music concert on Saturday, March 5, this year's events include a five –day art exhibition opening Thursday, March 3 and free, all-ages artist talk and panel discussion Sunday, March 6.

Since 2010, BWR! has been a staple of Women's History Month at The Wright Museum, with sell-out crowds for the concert each year. A showcase of independent women artists of color who make a living in the Rock & Roll genre, this year's headliners include: Kimberly Nicole (The Voice), Ideeyah, Nik West, Divinity Roxx, Steffanie Christ'ian, Shelly Nicole, Kisma, Mama Sol, and jessica Care moore. Despite initially selling out last week, a limited number of additional tickets for Saturday's BWR! Concert have been made available for $35 at An overflow area with vendors and a live-stream of the show will take $5 donations for the children of Flint. Doors open at 6:30 PM; show begins at 7:30 PM.

On Sunday, March 6 at 12 PM, BWR! performing artists come back to The Wright for an artist talk titled after funk singer Betty Davis' second studio album, "They Say I'm Different."

"[Recently] Betty Davis wrote to me and thanked us for keeping her music alive," said moore, Executive Producer of BWR! "The Sunday conversation is the foundation of Black WOMEN Rock! It's about not being silenced by the industry, by anyone, ever again, and telling our fearless stories."

Parents and caretakers are encouraged to bring their children to the talk, which will include workshops, video presentations and a panel discussion. Admission is free and open to the public

On Thursday, March 3 at 6 PM an opening reception for "Nasty Gal," a BWR! visual art exhibition curated by Detroit artist Sabrina Nelson, will be held at The Baltimore Gallery, located at 314 E. Baltimore Ave, Detroit, MI 48202. The gallery's hours are 12 – 9 PM Monday – Friday and 1 – 9 PM on Saturdays. The exhibition will run through Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Exhibit admission is free and open to the public.


About Black WOMEN Rock!

In 2004, renowned poet and performer, jessica Care moore created Black WOMEN Rock!, a tribute to rock icon Betty Davis, in conjunction with The National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta. BWR! aims to defy stereotypes of what a Rock & Roll artist looks and sounds like; featured artists have spent their careers breaking down barriers of image, politics and sexuality in the music industry. Past BWR! headliners have included: Dionne Farris, (Arrested Development), Martha Redbone, Ursula Rucker (The Roots), Kat Dyson (guitar player for Prince), Canadian Rocker, Saidah Baba Talibah, Res, Julie Dexter, and more. In honor of Women's History Month, BWR! debuted in Detroit in March 2010.

About the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue 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


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CONTACT: Nikia Washington

(313) 494-5866


Black WOMEN Rock! + A Month Full of Events to Highlight the Many Strengths of Women

DETROIT, MI – February 23, 2016: This March, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History recognizes Women's History Month with 25 special programs including concerts, films, guest speakers, and more to applaud and uplift women of all ages, races, and backgrounds. Most of these events are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at the museum, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit's Cultural Center. A complete schedule is attached; of special note are the following:

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the jess Care moore Foundation and Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History present Black WOMEN Rock! Saturday, March 5 at 6:30 PM. This year's concert, to be held at the Museum, has already sold out; an overflow area, featuring vendors and a live-stream of the show, will take $5 donations for the children of Flint. Performers include jessica Care moore, Kat Dyson (guitar player for Prince), Lessie Voner, Nik West, Shelley Nicole, Indeeyah, Divinity Rocks, Steffanie Christ'ian, and many more.

Rounding out the weekend, on Thursday, March 3 at 6 PM an accompanying visual art exhibition curated by Sabrina Nelson will be showcased at The Baltimore Gallery, located at 314 E. Baltimore. On Sunday, March 6 at 12:30 PM, the all-ages "They Say I'm Different" artist talk featuring the concert's performers will be held at the Museum. Sunday and Thursday's events are free and open to the public.

In 2004, Moore created Black WOMEN Rock! in conjunction with The National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta to showcase independent women artists of color who make a living as composers, guitarist, vocalist, producers and art educators in the rock & roll genre.

About the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue 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


SOLD OUT: Black Women Rock! Concert ($)

Saturday, March 5 at 7 PM / Doors at 6:30 PM

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History proudly presents the 2016 Black Women Rock! concert. For overflow info visit

Black Women Rock! Artist Talk: They Say I'm Different

Sunday, March 6 at 12:30 PM

Hear from the rocking group of women who make up the critically acclaimed concert, Black Women Rock! This FREE forum provides valuable insight and advice for artists and performers of all ages. For more information visit Free.

Writing My Wrongs with Shaka Senghor

Monday, March 14 at 6:30 PM

Hear the turbulent yet triumphant story of Shaka Senghor one day after the air date of his interview with Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday as he walks us through his nineteen-year incarceration, which positioned him as a writer, community activist and inspirational speaker. Senghor's new memoir Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison will be available for purchase and signing. Free.

Beyond Strong: Women's History Month Tribute

Friday, March 25 at 7 PM

In an annual tribute dedicated to honoring women who have blazed trails and inspired others to forge their own, ing with us at this joyous musical event to close out Women's History Month. Free.

Camp Africa: Spring Session
March 28 - April 1, 2016
This free, week-long day camp experience for children ages 7 - 12 includes immersions into African cultures, literacy, and performing and visual arts! For more information including online registration


Links to Science presented by the Renaissance Chapter of The Links, Incorporated

Saturdays, March 5 & 12 at 1:30 PM

Let members of The Renaissance (MI) Chapter of The Links, Inc. be your children's guide to inspiration as they explore the wonders and wizards of science in this hands-on exhibit, Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology. Free.

Family Activity Series presents Arts and Crafts

Saturdays, March 12 & 19 at 1 PM

Everyone can enjoy The Wright Museum with this FREE Saturday activity series for the whole family! Create a colorful mandala inspired by Aboriginal paintings currently featured the exhibit, No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting. Free.

Ford Free Second Sunday

Sunday, March 13 from 1 - 5 PM

Take advantage of the FREE* admission every second Sunday of the month courtesy of Ford Motor Company! Excluding guided group tours. For group tour information please call (313) 494-5808 or email Free.

Don Barden Foundation Interactive Storytime

Sunday, March 13 at 2 PM

Do you want your child to love reading? Then you'll love being a part of Interactive Storytime where music, movement, and literacy collide. This interactive performance puts your kids right in the story - and they take home a free book! Free.


1st Annual Marcus Belgrave Scholarship Concert ($)

Thursday, March 10 at 7 PM

Listen to the sultry jazz sounds of Joan Belgrave and an all-star line-up including Geri Allen, Karriem Riggins, Marion Hayden, Rayse Biggs, Dwight Adams and James Carter. General seating $25.

Liberation Film Series presents Female Circumcision in America

Saturday, March 12 at 2 PM

Guest author Moyna Uddin brings volume to a commonly hushed topic. A screening of film The Land of No Men: Inside Kenya's Women-Only Village will precede Uddin's discussion, followed by a book signing of featured title Her Sudan Man, His Circumcised Wife. Free.

For the Love of Women Concert featuring Ola Onabule ($)

Thursday, March 24 at 6 PM

Presented in partnership with Jazz Network Foundation, Inc., U.K. born Nigerian jazz and R&B singer Ola Onabule honors the Women's Committee and women of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. General admission $20.

Black Tears Book Signing by author Gloria G. Williams and Film: Dark Girls

Wednesday, March 30 at 6 PM

Learn about the continuing impact of enslavement consciousness as it relates to skin color, self-esteem, male/female and global race relations. Featured film Dark Girls goes underneath the surface to explore the prejudices that dark-skinned women face throughout the world. Free.


A Citywide Call for Inner Peace: Learn the Art of Meditation featuring Teaching Monk, L.P. Pasura and Moderator, Ciarra Ross

Sunday, March 20 at 5 PM

This global healing initiative is designed to generate inner peace in order to establish and sustain world peace. Free.

Hustle for History Weekly Dance Lessons ($)

Sundays at 5 PM

Work your muscles, strengthen your bones, and improve your health with weekly hustle lessons, taught by Thomasenia Johnson of Two Left Feet. Purchase five lessons and receive a museum membership, making your next 12 months free! $7 or free for members.

30 Days to Lose It! Weekly Workouts ($)

Tuesdays at 7:30 PM

Want to slim down, stay in shape or just be healthy? Join us for SEASON 6 of 30 Days To Lose It! a weekly workout that was inspired by the TV show, The Biggest Loser. This workout is FREE for museum members and $5 for non-members. Attend 8 consecutive sessions and receive a complimentary museum membership, making your next 12 months free!


Black Australia & Tasmania: Eastern Extensions of the African World

Sunday, March 6 at 3 PM

Join historian, public lecturer, and author Dr. Runoko Rashidi for a book signing and discussion on his lifelong work of documenting the Global African presence. His works include Introduction to the Study of African Classical Civilizations (1993) and Unchained African Voices, a collection of poetry and prose by Death Row inmates at California's San Quentin maximum-security prison. Free.

84th Anniversary of the 1932 Ford Hunger March - Massacre: Tribute to Dave Moore and UAW Local 600

Monday, March 7 at 6 PM

Presented in partnership with the Wayne State University's Walter P. Reuther Library and UAW Local 600 are speakers Dr. Beth Tompkins Bates, Tony Paris, Esq., Kirsten Chinery, and Frank Joyce to discuss the 1932 Ford Hunger March and 2016 Human Rights Violations. Special video presentation included and Book Signing: The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford by Beth Tompkins Bates. Free.

Power Lecture Series featuring Director, Producer, Actor: Vondie Curtis Hall

Saturday, March 19 at 2 PM

Featuring special guest speaker, director, producer & actor, Vondie Curtis Hall, and a screening of the film Redemption starring Jamie Foxx focused on the life of Stanley "Tookie' Williams. Free.

From King's Dream to Obama's Promise: Book Signing by Dr. Cynthia Flemings

Sunday, March 20 at 2 PM

Native Detroiter and author Professor Emerita at Duke University and Oral History expert, Dr. Cynthia Flemings provide rare insight on the legacy of Dr. King and the presidency of Barack Obama. Free.

Race First: 100th Anniversary of UNIA in the US featuring Scholar Paul Lee

Wednesday, March 23 at 6 PM

Be a part of Marcus Garvey's legacy as the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) celebrates a century of existence. Free.

What the Word Be: Why Black English is The King's English

Wednesday, March 31 at 7 PM

Hear author Diane Procter Reeder's fresh interpretation of the Bible as she explores the connection between Black English and biblical text.Free.

Meet the Scientist Saturday with David Head & Dr. Terrance Dillard

Saturday, March 26 at 2 PM

Do you know a curious student, a young Einstein, or a future tech wizard? Bring them to discover and explore science with activities led by scientists and technologists with the hands-on exhibit, Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology! Free.

From Lindy Hop to Hip Hop featuring Paulette Brockington

Wednesday, March 30 at 1 PM

Learn important historical markers in the history of African American dance with live demonstrations by award-winning dancer Paulette Brockinton. All ages. Free.

Blackballed: The Black & White Politics of Race on America's Campuses
Wednesday, March 30 at 7 PM
Join Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Gamma Lambda Chapter (Detroit Alphas) for a book signing and conversation about race on today's college campuses with Lawrence Ross (APA). Free.


Mahogany @ The Museum presents My Sister/My Brother ($)

Friday, March 11 at 6 PM

Tired of the division? Well join us as men pay tribute to women… and women pay tribute to men with a night of entertainment dedicated to love of the opposite sex. Hosted by Joel "Fluent" Greene. For more info visit

The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers presents Betrayal & Trust ($)

Friday, March 18 at 8 PM

Real People. True Stories. Told Live. The award-winning Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers is back for another highly-acclaimed live curated, storytelling event. Hosted by creator and producer Satori Shakoor. Info & tickets at


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.

No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting

January 18 - May 15, 2016

The rise of the Aboriginal Australian art movement in the early 1970s ushered in an artistic revolution. As the twenty-first century approached, Aboriginal artists across the continent began transforming their traditional iconographies into more abstract styles of art making. Speaking across cultures, without sacrificing their distinctive identities, they found new ways to express the power of the ancestral narratives of the Dreaming.

Postmarked: The African American Stamp on History

December 15, 2015 – March 27, 2016

Postmarked: The African American Stamp on History was created from the Black Heritage Stamp Series, a collection generously donated by the United States Postal Service. These commemoratives are presented with the idea that stamps are a different way of telling stories. The Black Heritage Stamp Series promotion began in 1978, is the longest running series of its kind, and one of the most popular philately ventures the Postal Service has ever undertaken.

Collect: The Power of Knowing

October 31, 2015 - March 27, 2016

Curated by Dr. Cledie Collins Taylor, Collect: The Power of Knowing honors art collectors who have preserved and shown us works we may not have seen on our own, especially art from the continent of Africa. The works show evidence of our creativity from the distant past to our current times. There is power in knowing this history

I, Charles H. Wright: My Story

March 10, 2015 - February 5, 2016

This year, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History reaches a milestone in the history of the institution - it's 50th anniversary. To celebrate this august achievement the museum presents an exhibition centered on the life of the man who started it: Charles Howard Wright, M.D. (1918-2002). A great physician, an intellectual of incredible insight, and a man of solemn dedication to his community, through words and images, documents and objects, the exhibition summarizes his expansive legacy.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

315 East Warren Avenue • Detroit, MI 48201 • (313) 494-5800

The Wright Museum® |

Museum Hours

Tuesday – Saturday 9 AM – 5 PM | Sundays 1 – 5 PM


Adults (13+) $8 | Seniors (62+) & Youth (3 - 12) $5 | Members and children under 3 FREE

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Today in Black History, February 23, 2016 | Louis Stokes

February 23, 1925 Louis Stokes, the first African American to represent Ohio in the United States Congress, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Stokes served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946, earned his bachelor's degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1948, and his Juris Doctor degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1953. He was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1968 and served until 1998. He chaired several important committees during his time in Congress, including the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the Ethics Committee, and the House Intelligence Committee. His work in the area of health led to his appointment to the Pepper Commission on Comprehensive Health Care. After leaving Congress, he was a partner in a global law firm until his retirement in 2012. Stokes died August 18, 2015. Many buildings around the country are named in his honor, including Howard University's library, the Cleveland Public Library's main building extension, and the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center. The Louis Stokes Museum opened in Cleveland in 2007 and the Louis Stokes Leadership Symposium on Social Issues and the Community is sponsored at Case Western.

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