Presidential museum to house oral histories from local African-Americans


Recordings and transcripts of oral histories collected from Springfield African-American residents are now available online at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s website.

The museum has hosted the collection since 2006, after forming a partnership with the Springfield, Illinois African American History Foundation, which created the oral history program and continues to grow the collection. The library, which digitizes the recordings and proofreads the transcripts, has archived more than 50 interviews, 15 of which are accessible online.

Some of the stories reflect the hardships African-Americans in Springfield faced decades ago as they dealt with segregation and discrimination.

“It was bad here in Springfield,” said Clarence Senor, 81, whose oral history is one of those kept at the library. He and his wife, Peggie, whose history also has been recorded, were both at the library Thursday afternoon, when the collection’s online availability was announced.

“We tend to forget the art of storytelling,” said Doug King, president of the foundation, as he discussed why collecting oral histories is important.

King said the foundation’s oral histories preserve personal life stories, as well as the “hidden story of Springfield.”

“(Oral history) serves as a public record of where we have been,” said state historian Tom Schwartz, who said the collection offers moving stories of families, friends, thriving neighborhoods, churches and businesses.

Several interviewees are from families who have lived in Springfield since the 19th century.

Not all of the reminiscences are negative. In his oral history, Charles Lockhart Jr. talked about how he once bunked with John Coltrane while the two were in the U.S. Navy.

The foundation relied on grants to start up the collection, but that money has run out, King said. While the foundation seeks more funding for interviews and transcription services, library officials said they plan to expand the online material based on the foundation’s completed recordings and transcripts.

Pete Sherman can be reached at 788-1539.

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Museums - DC Area



"20TH ANNUAL OPEN JURIED PATUXENT ART LEAGUE EXHIBITION" Works by Maryland, Northern Virginia and District residents, through Jan. 2 at Montpelier Arts Center, 9652 Muirkirk Rd., Laurel. Open daily 10 to 5. 301-699-2255. Free.

"WATCH THIS! NEW DIRECTIONS IN THE ART OF THE MOVING IMAGE" On display are nine works spanning 50 years, including Cory Arcangel's Nintendo-inspired "Video Painting," Jim Campbell's "Grand Central Station #2," made from 1,728 LED lights and Kota Ezawa's three-dimensional digital animation "LYAM 3D," indefinitely at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and F streets NW. Open daily 11:30 to 7. 202-633-1000. Free.


ACADEMY ART MUSEUM "Constructed Spaces: Contemporary Color Photography," through Feb. 13. An exhibition including large-scale work by Edward Burtynsky, William Christenberry and others. Open Friday-Monday 10 to 4, Tuesday-Thursday 10 to 8. 106 South St., Easton. 410-822-2787. $3, 12 and younger free.

AIR AND SPACE/DOWNTOWN Open indefinitely: "The Golden Age of Flight." "The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age." "America by Air." "Apollo to the Moon." "Milestones of Flight." "Space Race." "Barron Hilton: Pioneers of Flight Gallery." The museum's exhibit of aviation and rocketry in the 1920s and '30s reopened with additional artifacts, such as Anne Lindbergh's telegraph key, and hands-on activities for kids. Open daily 10 to 5:30. Sixth Street and Independence Avenue SW. 202-633-1000. Free.

Kwanzaa Celebrations


If you celebrate Kwanzaa or just want to experience the African-American holiday that celebrates family, community and culture, there are some great events in Baristaville and beyond:

Step Afrika!
Ages 10 and up.
What: Step Afrika is the first professional dance company to celebrate the tradition of stepping as an art form originated from African American fraternities and African traditions. Celebrate the spirit of Kwanzaa in this part-poetry slam and part-body percussion performance!
Where: NJPAC, 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ.
When: Saturday, December 18 at 2 pm and 5 pm.
Cost: Tickets per person beginning at $20. Click here to purchase tickets online.

22nd Annual Community Kwanzaa Celebration
All ages.
What: Celebrate two decades of community spirit with performances by the Usaama Dance Company of Montclair, Kwanzaa libation ceremony & Kwanzaa craft for children. The African Market opens at noon.
Where: Montclair Public Library, 60 S. Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ, 07042.
When: Saturday, December 1. Market starts at 12 pm. Celebration starts at 1 pm.
Cost: Free.

The Legacy Continues…Kwanzaa 2010!
All ages.
What: Celebrate Kwanzaa with an all-day event at the American Museum of Natural History. The event honors the seven African-based principles of Kwanzaa called Nguzo Saba in Swahili, with performances of song, dance, and spoken word.
Where: American Museum of Natural History, Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, first floor, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY.
When: Sunday, December 26 from 12 pm – 5 pm. Click here for a full schedule of events.
Cost: Free with museum admission. Admission rates: Adult: $20, Children: $13, Seniors/Students: $16. Call 212.769.5100 for more information.

(Photo: Flickr/purejuice2)

Museum and gallery events around Philly, PA

Art Museums & Institutions

African American Heritage Museum 661 Jackson Rd., Newtonville, NJ; 609-704-5495. Tue.-Fri. 10 am-3 pm.

Barnes Foundation 300 N Latchs La., Merion Station; 610-667-0290. $15 (reservations required). Thu.-Sun. 9:30 am-5 pm.

Brandywine River Museum Rte. 1 & Rte. 100, Chadds Ford; 610-388-2700. Imaginary Beasts of Royal Lacey Scoville. Closes 1/9. Donald Pywell: Golden Impressions of Andrew Wyeth. Closes 1/9. Brandywine Heritage Galleries. Andrew Wyeth Gallery. N.C. Wyeth Gallery. Bayard & Mary Sharp Gallery. Guided Gallery Tours With Victoria Wyeth. $10; $6 seniors, students & children 6-12; free under 6. Daily 9:30 am-4:30 pm.

Chemical Heritage Foundation 315 Chestnut St.; 215-925-2178. Marvels & Ciphers: A Look Inside the Flask. Free. Closes 12/10. Mon.-Fri. 10 am-4 pm.

Delaware Art Museum 2301 Kentmere Pkwy., Wilmington; 302-571-9590. May Morris: A Belief in the Power of Beauty. Closes 1/2. Leonard Baskin: Art From the Gift of Alfred Appel Jr.. Closes 1/9. Marc Sijan: Ultra-Realistic Sculpture. Different Views: Painters of the Olsher Lifelong Learning Institute. Highlights Tour. Closes 12/19. Exhibition Tour. Closes 12/19. $12; $10 seniors; $6 students & children 7-18; free 6 & under; $25 family of 4; free for everyone on Sun.. Wed.-Sat. 10 am-4 pm, Sun. noon-4 pm.

Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts 200 S. Madison St., Wilmington; 302-656-6466. In Canon. Closes 1/2. Susan Myers: Sleight of Hand. Closes 1/9. Katie Baldwin: Things Left Behind. Free. Tue., Thu.-Sat. 10 am-5 pm, Wed. & Sun. noon-5 pm.

The Fabric Workshop & Museum 1214 Arch St.; 215-568-1111. Joan Jonas: Reading Dante III. Closes 1/9. Donation suggested: $3; free under 12. Mon.-Fri. 10 am-6 pm; Sat.-Sun. noon-5 pm.

Institute of Contemporary Art 118 S. 36th St.; 215-898-7108. Set Pieces. Free. Wed.-Fri. noon-8 pm, Sat.-Sun. 11 am-5 pm.

James A. Michener Art Museum 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown; 215-340-9800. Art Speaks: Contemporary Art Connections. Closes 1/2. The Lenfest Exhibition of Pennsylvania Impressionism. Visual Heritage of Bucks County. Patricia Goodrich: Ordinary to Extraordinary. $10; $9 seniors; $7.50 students;$5 youth 6-18; free under 6. Tue.-Fri.10 am-4:30 pm, Sat. 10 am-5 pm, Sun. noon-5 pm.

La Salle University - Art Museum 1900 W. Olney Ave.; 215-951-1221. Sidney Goodman: Small Paintings. Closes 12/10. Donations accepted. Mon.-Fri. 10 am-4 pm; Sun. 2-4 pm.

Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts 1048 Washington St., Cape May; 609-884-5404.

Noyes Museum of Art - Hammonton 5 S. Second St., Hammonton; 609-561-8006. Tue.-Wed. 11 am-6 pm; Thu. 1-9 pm; Fri.-Sat. 11 am-7 pm.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 118-128 N. Broad St.; 215-972-7600. Ye Great Mogul of the Sketch Club. Closes 12/12. Tom LaDuke: run generator. Free. Narcissus in the Studio: Artist Portraits & Self-Portraits. $15; $12 seniors & children 13-18; free 12 & under (incl. adm. to the permanent collection). Closes 1/2. Same: Difference. $15; $12 seniors and children 13-18; free 12 and under. Closes 1/2. Portrait of the Artist. $15; $12 seniors and children 13-18; free 12 and under. Closes 1/2. $10; $8 seniors & students; $6 youth 5-18; free for members & under 5. Tue.-Sat. 10 am-5 pm; Sun. 11 am-5 pm.

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The Gospel Truth

Mavis Staples releases You Are Not Alone.

by: Richard Gehr | from: AARP

Mavis Staples was an unusually husky-voiced teenager when she sang on "Uncloudy Day," the Staple Singers' first gospel hit, in 1956. Led by guitarist-songwriter Roebuck "Pops" Staples, her family's group became spiritually charged pop stars with strong ties to the civil rights movement.

At 71, Mavis' voice remains a force unto itself. Since the death of her father in 2000, Mavis has kick-started a solo career by getting back to her roots with the help of Americana heroes such as Ry Cooder and, more recently, Wilco bandleader Jeff Tweedy, who produced her new album, You Are Not Alone. Speaking on a typically hectic day in her Chicago condo, Staples was preparing to hit the road for a West Coast tour. "I love bein' on the road," she says. "If we stay away too long, I'm ready to go."

Q: How did the Staple Singers go from being a pure gospel group to being one of the country's biggest pop acts?

A: We started out singing gospel music in Southern churches. We would have some fun singing gospel. We would have good times, because you were singing and rejoicing and shouting when the spirit came.

I used to love hearing Ira Tucker and the Dixie Hummingbirds. Sam Cooke was with the Soul Stirrers, Lou Rawls was with the Pilgrim Travelers and we would all travel together in a caravan. Then, all of a sudden, white people wanted to hear us. We started playing folk festivals, and then we started getting calls for jazz and blues festivals.

I asked my father at one point, "Daddy, why we goin' to blues festivals? We don't sing no blues, Pops. We sing gospel." He told me, "Mavis, music is music and our music has some of every kind of music in it." The people we played to at the folk festivals — the flower children, the hippies — made me feel like we were still in church because they were such loving people.

Q: Was that why the Staple Singers started covering songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield and the Band?

A: Pops often told us that back in Mississippi, if a white man was walking toward him on the same side of the street, Pops would have to cross over to the other side. So when he heard Dylan sing, "How many roads must a man walk down/ Before you call him a man?" he could relate to that. And when Buffalo Springfield sang, "There's something happening here/ What it is ain't exactly clear/ There's a man with a gun over there/ Telling me I got to beware," we felt it was gospel because it was truth.

Q: Jeff Tweedy and Wilco are probably the Buffalo Springfield of today. How did you hook up with him for your new album?

A: Tweedy and Wilco remind me a lot of Robbie Robertson and the Band, and we were the first group to cover "The Weight." I didn't know what I was going to do after the Ry Cooder record [We'll Never Turn Back, released in 2007]. Then Tweedy called and told me he had some songs he wanted me to listen to, including songs my father played for us when we were young. Tweedy really took time to study me. He didn't just throw something out there; he kept me in my comfort zone. One day, he said, "Mavis, guess what I have on my iPod." I said, "What?" He said, "I have all of the Staple Singers music from the '50s and '60s." And I said, "Well, you walkin' around, Tweedy, with the best music of my life." I told him I would love to sing my father's songs again. At the end of the sessions, he wrote "Only the Lord Knows" and "You Are Not Alone," which might be my favorite song on the album.

Q: How did he get it to sound so much like a contemporary Staple Singers album might sound?

A: The band that's playing on it is the band I've been traveling with for about four years. Rick Holmstrom plays Daddy's guitar licks all the time. Sometimes I have to look around to see if Pops is standing back there with him.

Singing songs like "Don't Knock" makes me so happy. It takes me back to when I was a teenager, the happiest time of my life. It was just my father's guitar and our voices. I could visualize Pops smiling and grinning with that twinkle in his eye when he was writing "Don't Knock." We had so much fun. [Singing] "You don't knock, ring, push or hold/ The door's wide open, waitin' for your soul." And my mother and all of us would be laughing. "Daddy! You wrote that?" They were joyous times.

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Kwanzaa Activities - Washington, DC Area


Many events require reservations or advance ticket purchases and may sell out - call before you go.

"THE BLACK CANDLE: A KWANZAA CELEBRATION" Dec. 11 at 4:30. Screening of the documentary by M.K. Asante that uses Kwanzaa to celebrate the African American experience. Narrated by Maya Angelou. Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St., Alexandria. 703-746-4356. Free.

COYABA DANCE THEATER Dec. 18 at 8 and Dec. 19 at 2 and 8. Annual Kwanzaa celebration featuring 85 performers. Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. 202-269-1600. $22, seniors and students $17, children 17 and younger $8.

FAMILY KWANZAA ADVENTURE Dec. 28 at 10:30. Saleem and Ivy Hylton of Youth and Families in Crisis lead a celebration with interactive drumming, singing, dancing and skits designed to explore the principles of Kwanzaa. The program closes with the "Circle of Hope and Healing," an original Kwanzaa group activity designed to restore and renew the hopes and dreams of families for the New Year. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-633-4844. Free, reservations required.

KWANZAA CRAFT WORKSHOP Dec. 11 from 1 to 3. Jessica Smith, founder of Culture Kingdom for Kids, and Kwanzaa educator Pier Penic lead children in making Kwanzaa crafts. Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St., Alexandria. 703-746-4356. $5, reservations requested.

KWANZAA FAMILY DAY Dec. 12 from 1 to 5. Celebrate the African traditions of family, community and culture. Learn about the seven principles of Kwanzaa while creating art and listening to performances by DishiBem and Jali-D. Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Dr., Baltimore. 443-573-1700. Free.

KWANZAA LECTURE AND DEMONSTRATION Dec. 13 at 8. A history of Kwanzaa featuring dancing and drumming by the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers. Publick Playhouse, 5445 Landover Rd., Cheverly. 301-277-1710. $5, seniors $4.

KWANZAA: NIA Dec. 30 at 10:30. Melvin Deal and the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers will conduct a workshop that includes making tambor instruments, drumming and dancing. The workshop features a performance in celebration of the fifth Kwanzaa principle, Nia (purpose). Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-633-4844. Free, reservations required.

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Holiday events in the Phoenix area

"A Vote from Alice"

Herberger Theater Center
222 E. Monroe St. Phoenix, AZ, 85004
PHONE: 602-254-7399
January 25, 2011 - February 3, 2011 Tuesday, 12:10 PM
Wednesday, 12:10 PM
Thursday, 12:10 PM


PRICE: $6 : $6
CREDITS: Written by Larissa Brewington, directed by Joy Bingham Strimple PRESENTED BY: Grey Matters Productions

The one-woman show is about Alice Allison Higgins, the first African American woman to receive White House credentials. She took a position on Lyndon B. Johnson's campaign for the Democratic nomination. The show examines the racial challenges of that time period and highlights her experiences traveling with Harry S. Truman on his 1948 campaign trip. Part of the Lunch Time Theater series.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-494-5800; Portrayals of Life and Landscapes: The Art of Frank Kelley, Jr.; through Dec. 12. Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment; through Jan. 2. Crowning Glories: Status, Style, and Self-Expression; through Jan. 17. Art of the Masters: A Survey of African American Images, 1980-2000; through Feb. Hours: Tue.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5; Sun., 1-5.

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38th Annual Noel Night

Compiled by Dora Robles Hernandez

With over 45 institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Science Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Detroit Public Library, open their doors to the public during this Cultural Center-wide holiday "open house." Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities and performances by over 70 area music, theatre and dance groups, 5-9:30 p.m. 313-577-5088. Free.

Read more: 38th Annual Noel Night | | Detroit Free Press

Off the Wall: 'Unbound' at Chazen through Dec. 31

“Unbound”: African-American Artists’ Books and Illustrated Children’s Books

Through Dec. 31

Kohler Art Library — Chazen Museum of Art, 800 University Ave.


Books become art and art becomes books in an exhibition in the Kohler Art Library that focuses on African-American artists. The works in “Unbound” are organized into four categories: Ancestry, in which pieces “reach back into pleasurable childhood memories”; Biography, which highlights historical figures; Memory/Trauma, which focuses on memories of distress; and Resistance, in which the pieces “reject subjugated places in society.”

The Kohler Art Library, located on the ground floor of the Chazen, hosts four to five shows a year; all the works in this show come from the library’s collection, including a selection of children’s books. Related events include a talk by children’s book artist Odalo on Monday, Dec. 6, at 4 p.m. and a lecture from co-curator Janine Sytsma on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 4 p.m.

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Host Your Next Event At October Gallery

Host Your Next Event At October Gallery

October Gallery for private and corporate events.

The perfect space for weddings, cocktail parties, holiday gatherings, corporate meetings and more.


Rent the October Gallery space for your receptions, birthday parties, staff meetings, book signings etc.

We can furnish the following:

• Up to 1800 square ft. function area
• 6 ft tables – limited supply
• Chairs – limited supply
• Preparation rooms
• Artful environment
• Educational Seminars or Workshops
• Internet access (Please bring your own computers)
• Kitchen for preparation and servings etc. (NO COOKING)

OG has hosted the following kinds of events
Poetry readings
CD release parties
Birthday parties
Networking Parties
Alumni Mixers
Garden Parties
Book Signings
We are available for rentals 7 days/week.
Bring your own food, or we can help you arrange catering & desserts
Contact us

Rental Fee: $395.00 per day (5 hour day on 1st floor only) - $250 per half day (
(2.5 hour day on 1st floor only)

$100 for each additional hour

Additional information: Contact account manager at 215-629-3939 or

Click Here to Sign Up!

African American Excursion

Take a day and enjoy San Francisco's rich African American heritage.

On any given day, there is much to celebrate about African American culture in San Francisco, and if you time your visit, you might have the added experience of enjoying special activities during Black History Month, the annual Juneteenth celebration, the highly regarded AfroSolo theater festival and any number of Afrocentric events.

San Francisco is filled with places to ponder and reflect on its very own rich African American ancestry, which can be found in the unlikeliest places - if only you know where to look. The following one-day itinerary offers a glimpse into the City's black culture.

When the wake up call comes this morning, enjoy your morning stroll around Yerba Buena Gardens, located between Third and Fourth and Mission and Howard streets. If you are in the financial district, pass by Leidesdorff Street which runs parallel between Montgomery and Sansome, from Pine to Washington. This short street is named after one of the City's pioneers, William Alexander Leidesdorff. An African American originally from the Virgin Islands, Leidesdorff sailed into San Francisco in 1841 and became a prominent businessmen and vital politico, building the City's first hotel.

You'll know you have reached your destination when the sounds of falling water lure you into a manicured garden, toward the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Enjoy warm croissants or bagels you picked up at one of the local bakeries along the way as the 22-foot-high waterfall cascades past the floating bridge and 12 engraved glass panes with quotes by Dr. King. Exit the park at Third and Mission where you will see the home of the Museum of the African Diaspora which features exhibits of local and international black history. MoAD opened on the ground level of the St. Regis Hotel, in December 2005. As you walk south down Third Street toward AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, pause to look up at a large painting by noted artist Raymond Saunders on the St. Regis tower.

Even if the Giants are on the road or in the off-season, baseball fans can take a behind-the-scenes-tour of the waterfront park. Even non-sports fans will appreciate the entrance: Willie Mays Plaza is home to 24 (his jersey number) palm trees and a nine-foot bronze sculpture of the African American Hall of Fame center fielder. Stroll along McCovey Cove into China Basin park and view the larger-than-life statue of another living legend: Willie McCovey. If you have time, take in a game. You might just see Tim Lincecum pitch a no-hitter.

At this point, you’re not far from a connection to the T-Third line which provides light rail service to the growing communities along Third Street which include Mission Bay as well as Dogpatch, one of San Francisco’s 11 historic districts, Bayview, Hunters Point and Visitacion Valley. Located at 4705 Third St., the Bayview Opera House, built in 1888, was the first opera house built for San Francisco and the only theater to survive the 1906 earthquake and fire. Today it is a neighborhood cultural center.

If your culture day happens to fall on Sunday, be sure to spend time in one of the City's celebrated churches. Glide Memorial United Methodist Church is praised nationally for its progressive community projects, and visitors will find a truly multi-cultural choir that "shakes the walls and raises the spirit." The Saint John Coltrane African American Church emphasizes music as a medium to worship, while the Third Baptist Church, founded during the Gold Rush, was the first Black Baptist church west of the Rockies.

If you catch a cab or drive, a brief stop at the corner of Bush and Octavia is in order. A tribute to Mary Ellen Pleasant - a former slave who became a successful local businesswoman and a crucial chain in the Underground Railroad - lies on the southwest corner, at the site of her former home. This is also close to one of the city’s other historic districts: Bush Street Cottage Row. Be sure not to miss the African American Art and Culture Complex (AAACC) at Fulton and Webster, with its celebrated Dewey Crumpler mural. AAACC is also home to the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society Museum, which is packed with African and African American artwork, artifacts and exhibitions, including that of Pleasant and Leidesdorff.

A trip out to Fort Point National Historic Site at the south anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge is well worth the trek. Not only is the scene of the San Francisco Bay breathtaking from this vantage point but this is also the site of a permanent exhibit of the African American soldier's experience from 1776 through present-day. Now it's time to get back to the hotel and get ready for a night on the town. Tonight will be spent meandering one of our great neighborhoods: the Fillmore. You won't be at a loss for dining or music options in the Fillmore Jazz Preservation District. The area boasts several venues including the second Bay Area location of famed jazz club Yoshi’s and 1300 on Fillmore where chef David Lawrence combines classic French cooking with southern style touches. Diners on select Sundays can also enjoy the gospel brunch.

San Francisco’s majestic City Hall is located at One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, named for the late civil rights leader and one of the founders of The Sun-Reporter, is opposite the Main Library, 100 Larkin St., which houses The African American Center. Located on the third floor it includes an extensive collection exploring the African American experience and is a vital link in the African American History Network, an online connection between the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society.

Your nightcap will be at the Top of the Mark, on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco with an unrivaled view of the City. But that's not the only breathtaking sight here. Ask to see the Room of the Dons and take a look at the 1926 mural of Queen Califia, the mythical black queen from whom the state of California takes its name. Sleep soundly tonight; it's been a long, learned day.

To find out more about San Francisco's African American heritage, please view our press release titled "Diverse San Francisco: African American"

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381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story

The African American Museum in Philadelphia will focus in on one of the most pivotal moments in American history with the 381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story. This traveling exhibit chronicles the heroic stand of Rosa Parks through her arrest and the bus boycott that followed. Developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in collaboration with the Troy University Rosa Parks Library and Museum, and generously underwritten by AARP, the exhibit explores these crucial, historic events, which ignited the national Civil Rights Movement.

Parks’ arrest on Dec. 1, 1955, the catalyst for Montgomery’s citizens to take action, is only a fraction of the story. 381 Days examines the contributions and dedication of Montgomery’s black community, which made the boycott successful. Four days after Parks’ arrest, 50,000 people united for a one-day boycott of city buses. Following its massive success, organizers formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), electing a young Martin Luther King Jr. as its president, and devised a strategy of grassroots organization and legal challenges that eventually broke the city’s ability to maintain segregated buses after 380 more days of the boycott.

“The installation of 381 Days helps to round out the overall experience here at AAMP”, commented AAMP President & CEO Romona Riscoe Benson. “Our core exhibition Audacious Freedom provides insight into what was essentially our nation’s first civil rights movement. 381 Days expands that experience from a modern day perspective. Additionally we will add a local focus to the exhibit with the inclusion of photos by Philadelphia native Jack T. Franklin, one of the nation’s most prolific photographers of the civil rights struggle in America.”

Through a modernist collage of photographs, political cartoons, contemporary writings, and other text and images, 381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story bears witness to a challenge met. The challenges of a people—black and forward-thinking whites, young and old—joined in boycott by hope, by courage, by self-respect. In its wake, the tenets of a nonviolent approach to political and social change matured into a weapon of equality for all Americans, no matter race, color, or gender. 381 Days examines the impact of the boycott’s success across the country and around the world. In November 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Montgomery’s segregated bus seating unconstitutional. The boycott ended once the ruling took effect. As the first major victory against legalized segregation, the strategies used in Montgomery were adapted by a new generation of activists dedicated to nonviolent protest.

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Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits


The new National Museum of African American History and Culture is collaborating with the National Portrait Gallery on it inaugural exhibition of African American photographic portraits. Selected by guest curator and photography historian, Deborah Willis, this exhibition explores the medium’s influential role in shaping public identity and individual notions of race and status over the past 150 years.

The exhibition’s title was inspired by the rallying cry of celebrated abolitionists Henry Highland Garnet (1815-1882) who challenged African Americans to rise up and emancipate themselves. “Let your motto be resistance.” he exclaimed. “Resistance! Resistance! No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance!”

The portrait subjects come from many sectors of the African American community. Nineteenth-century figures such as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Edmonia Lewis are included, as well as twentieth-century icons W.E.B. Du Bois, Lorraine Hansberry, and Wynton Marsalis. Among the featured photographers, who employ a variety of strategies to create their powerful images, are Mathew Brady, Berenice Abbott, James VanDerZee, Doris Ulmann, Edward Weston, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, and Carl Van Vechten.

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

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Jazzy Holiday Luncheon 2010

December 2, 12:00 PM
Costs: Individual tickets, $100; Tables available

The Board of Directors and staff of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture invite you to join us for our Annual Jazzy Holiday Luncheon on Thursday, December 2, 2010. Your support of this community-wide event allows us to strengthen our efforts in offering the Charlotte community the very best in African-American art, history and culture as we continue our extraordinary transition to our new Uptown cultural facility.

Our Jazzy Holiday Luncheon is the Gantt Center's single annual awards and fundraising event. This year's noon luncheon will be held at the Charlotte Center City Hilton Hotel located at 222 East Third Street. At the luncheon, we will share the highlights and key accomplishments of our first year in the new facility. We will present our 2010 Gantt Center Awards to truly outstanding honorees who have made tremendous contributions to the Gantt Center and the broader Charlotte community.

This year's award recipients are (click names to view bio):

Dr. David Driskell - nationally recognized artist, scholar, art historian and authority on 20th Century African-American art.

Mr. and Mrs. Leon Levine – one of Charlotte's leading philanthropic families who have been extraordinarily generous to educational, human services and cultural organizations throughout our city.

Dr. and Mrs. Spurgeon Webber Jr. - well-respected Charlotte residents, civic leaders, philanthropists and strong patrons of the arts.

Please consider supporting this important fundraiser and recognition event.

Purchase Tickets Online

You may purchase tickets to this event in advance. Individual tickets are $100 in advance (plus an online service fee). Click here to purchase your advance tickets to this event.

For table or corporate purchases, please contact Bonita Hemphill at (704) 547-3762 or Patrick Diamond at (704) 547-3739.