Expressions of Untold Stories


Huron High School’s 10th grade African American Humanities Accelerated Class (AC) has put together a collection of artwork reflecting their interpretation of August Wilson’s PIANO LESSON and the African American Experience during the early twentieth century.


This Spring, they visited the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County to see the Jon Onye Lockard Exhibit: Sankofa. Guided by teachers Anthony Stewart and Kimberly Wright they explored the creative process of inspiration and the power of symbolism in the timeless work of his art. Lockard’s mottos were "Make them hear you"; and "Think about what you think about."  He was completing a series of books for students, emerging artists, and art appreciators encompassing over 50 years of insights in the arts at the time of his passing. He was an amazing artist, muralist, master painter, historian and story teller.When you see this exhibit – you will feel the principle of Sankofa in action – It is not wrong, to go back for that which you have forgotten” The knowledge of the past must be present  - so the awareness can be passed on to the next generations for our best future. Masks will be required for entry, free ones are available at the welcome desk. All protocols for the safety and health of our visitors will be followed.




The Art & Legacy of

Jon Onye Lockard

Original Paintings,
Prints, Photographs and Artifacts

Museum Address: 1528 Pontiac Trail, (near the corner of John A. Woods Drive), Ann Arbor MI 48105

Parking: Guests may be dropped off in the driveway by the front entrance. Other guest parking is on the neighborhood side streets There is an accessible ramp in the back of the building, let us know in advance if you need access. For more information call 734-761-1717, email   Admission is free, donations are appreciated.

John Onye Lockard (1/25/1932 - 3/25/2015) was a visionary looking forward with a vast knowledge of the past. His life exemplified the West African proverb  Sankofa - “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” There is wisdom in learning from the past and one’s roots, to ensure a strong future moving forward. This exhibit features a
collection of his works and historical artifacts that speak with an uncommon eloquence, vibrancy and enlightenment.


The relevance of Lockard’s work and life experiences to today’s world and current events, illuminate his vision even more. At the time of his death, he was completing a series of books for students, emerging artists and art appreciators encompassing more than 50 years of insights in the arts. This exhibit celebrates the art, life and legacy of a man whose connection to the African Diaspora, his students and the community exemplifies the principle of Sankofa.Visitors will experience the artistic evolution of Black history and culture through the eyes of a visionary – John Onye Lockard.


OPEN NOW through August 14, 2022. Museum hours are Saturdays and Sundays, 12 noon to 4pm. Group or weekday visits may be scheduled by appointment.  Masks will be required for entry and all protocols for the safety and health of our visitors will be followed.

Exhibit Sponsor: BEAM - Black Employee Association at the University of Michigan.



About the Artist   Born in Detroit, Jon Onye Lockard was a powerful and awe-inspiring artist, muralist, master painter, educator, historian and story teller. His works may be found in many collections nationally and internationally. Some of Lockard’s murals and portraits are at Wayne State University, University of Michigan, Central State University and the Charles Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. He was a professor emeritus from Washtenaw Community College where he taught life drawing and portraiture for over 40 years. He was also a lecturer and founding faculty member of the Department of African American & African Studies at the UM.


With the principle of Sankofa as a guide, the Jon Onye Lockard Foundation was established to support African American culture through the visual arts and an inter-generational exchange of ideas.


AACHM Online Exhibits

art exhibit2.jpg

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Ann Arbor to speak at U-M just once, on November 5, 1962. 


Brian Williams from the Bentley Historical Library sheds light on the leader’s legendary visit. Read more...



Celebrating Black History Month 2022


Black Americans have been fighting for justice ever since this country’s inception. Abolishing slavery did not end systemic racism. Commemorating Juneteenth reminds us there is still so much work to do. We encourage you to see June 19th as an opportunity to learn more about Black history, uncovering facts and reflecting on the stories that aren’t included in textbooks.

About Juneteenth

Juneteenth commemorates the date—June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the end of the Civil War—when hundreds of thousands of enslaved men and women in Texas finally learned they were no longer enslaved.A quarter of a million people continued to suffer in slavery for 2.5 years after it was outlawed.

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform Texas that slavery was outlawed in formerly Confederate states. The ex-Confederate mayor of Galveston openly disregarded Granger’s orders and forced freed people back to work. On plantations, it was essentially up to enslavers to decide when and how to announce the news to enslaved men and women. Many enslavers waited until the harvesting process was complete.

In 1872, a group of Black ministers and businessmen raised enough money to purchase 10 acres of park land in Texas. The land, now known as Emancipation Park, offered surrounding Black communities a place they could celebrate the freedom granted on June 19th, 1865.


Martha and Pinkie Yates in a buggy decorated for the annual Juneteenth celebration in front 319 Robin St. in the Fourth Ward (c.1895-1905). Courtesy of Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Juneteenth flagThe flag by Ben Haith, later refined by Lisa Jeanne Graf, features "a star of Texas bursting with new freedom throughout the land, over a new horizon," says the celebration’s foundation. Its red, white, and blue colors echo the American flag..jpg

Juneteenth Flag

Black History Month is an annual recognition of the history, achievements, and influence of the Black diaspora.The theme for 2022 focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora.

Enslaved or free, patriarchal or matriarchal, single-headed or dual-headed household, extended or nuclear, fictive kin or blood lineage, legal or common law. Pressures that may pull black families apart also often unite us.

Telling Tales Out of School

The Student Advocacy Center of Michigan’s annual social justice art project elevates the recent experiences of their students. This 2021 projectwa s like none other, because this year is like none other. Students are struggling. They are hurting. Virtual school is temporary for most, but many Student Advocacy Center youth have been forced into virtual settings for many, many years. For this project, SAC students were given two questions to answer:

Telling Tales Out of School

The artist family Anna Oginsky (Heart Connected}, Sarah Richards (Ananda Wellness) and their mom, Kathleen Hodges turned these answers into art.



They re-purposed "found" computers and parts and covered them with the messages of reflection and hope from SAC students. This photo of the piece for the AACHM was taken in the dining room of the David R. Byrd Center on Lohr Road.


The historic farmhouse is more than 150 years old, built on land that was platted in 1825 and was restored by David and Letitia Byrd.


The tools of school were

a slate and chalk, so visually similar to the black and white tools our students use today.

African American History in Kerrytown Ann Arbor

By Deborah Meadows

The African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County (AACHM) was founded in 1993. Our mission is to research, collect, preserve, and exhibit cultural and historical materials about the life and work of African Americans in Washtenaw County. Our programs include videotaped oral histories with the Ann Arbor District Library, Underground Railroad tours, and performances from local artists in our Focus on the Arts events.


The Kerrytown neighborhood was historically home to a melting pot of nationalities, including a small African American community. Their population grew after both World Wars after mass migration of southern Blacks to northern states. Redlining played a part in the formation and maintenance of this community; redlining means to refuse someone a bank loan or insurance because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk. Several African American families in Washtenaw were victims of this unfortunate but intentional practice. A few still reside within the neighborhood, in homes that aren’t yet targets of gentrification. 

In spite of these practices, African Americans had a thriving community in Kerrytown. They raised families, secured employment, and owned businesses in the Black Business district surrounding Fourth Ave and Ann St. Most families could walk to Sunday service at Bethel AME Church at 632 N. Fourth Ave, or to Second Baptist Church at 213 Beakes on the corner of Fifth Ave. Children attended Jones Elementary School in what is now Community High School. The Dunbar Community Center at 420 N. Fourth Ave was operated by and for African Americans to enrich and empower youth and adults through educational and recreational programs.

Across from the old Dunbar Center is the home once inhabited by an African American family at 415 N. Fourth Ave. Today, this building is the Kerrytown Concert House. AACHM recently co-hosted a program with Kerrytown Concert House called “Blue Skies: A Jazzy Afternoon with Athena Johnson,” featuring the lush, soulful voice of this local songstress and her skillfully polished musicians. This virtual performance is available for your personal enjoyment at

The next time you visit the Farmer’s Market, Kerrytown, or the Concert House, take the time to notice the landmarks of our recent past. Try to picture children laughing on the porch of 420 N. Fourth Ave, or imagine hearing the organ and gospel choirs floating out from open church windows at 632 N. Fourth Ave or 213 Beakes. Take time to read the historical panels that dot our city streets created by  The Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit Program. Pause and reflect. Recognize that Black history is American history, and American history is our history.  Click here to read the article online at THE BRICK.