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You are invited to the opening of the only museum dedicated to sharing the history and heritage of the African American experience in Washtenaw County on Sunday, October 24, 2021, 1-4 PM at 1528 Pontiac Trail in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

The exhibit,  “AACHM@1528:Where Art Meets History”  is a visual collaboration inspired by community, identity, history, legacy, resilience, and hope. It celebrates six Black artists with Washtenaw County roots: Earl Jackson, Wanetta Jones, Dr. James Lee, Karen Simpson, Gregory Sipp and Wasentha Young. Visitors will also learn more about the Museum’s work to preserve local Black history and elevate the art, culture, and contributions of the community. Scanning QR codes throughout the museum with your smartphone will reveal historical photos, videos and stories.

 

October 24 Reservations and Covid 19 Protocol: Due to the rising number of Michigan cases, face masks and reservations for timed visits are required to attend the Opening of the Museum. Click here to make your reservation. Admission is free, donations are appreciated.

 

Parking: Guests are invited to park in the lot of Bethel AME Church, 900 John A Woods Drive (off Pontiac Trail)  until it is time for your admission. There will be a free valet service provided by Golden Limousine to take you from Bethel’s parking lot to the Museum’s front door. There is an accessible ramp in the back of the building, let us know in advance if you need access. Guests may also be dropped off in the driveway by the front entrance. Other guest parking is on the neighborhood side streets. For more information call 734-761-1717, email aachmuseum@att.net

Commemorating Juneteenth

September 19, 2021

Last Tour of the Season

is sold out. Thank you for supporting the Museum!

Do You Want to Volunteer?

The AACHM is looking for volunteers to help in many areas. To apply, please fill out this form.

Online Exhibits

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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.

When President Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre, the New York Times reported his shooting the same night. And news of the President’s passing the next day spread quickly across the country. Important news could reach the entire country, if the people in charge of local newspapers chose to report it.

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.

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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

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 year's project is 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:

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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.

Please visit studentadvocacycenter.org for more information about their annual storytelling drive-in fundraiser on May 7th, 2021. Stories include a high school student who has experienced racism and much more, a parent whose 8-year-old was expelled and an adult who worked with SAC more than 10 years ago and says they saved his life!

 

SAC was established in 1975 to focus on the educational experience of students; to identify successful practices and policies as well as the barriers to effective service You can support SAC by purchasing a ticket or donating today.

The African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County presented the 2018 Community Service Award to the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan (SAC). This year we are honored to be a 2021 SAC “Empty Screen” sponsor.

The Empty Screens multimedia video project includes spoken word, video messages, dance and more

AACHM Community History Online Exhibits

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Hilyard Robinson:

The Promise of Parkridge

Designed by Architect Hilyard Robinson, Parkridge was built in 1943 for area Black workers following an un­successful attempt to integrate Willow Run public housin

Mysti Greer and Jayson Atkins at Ypsilanti Pre-School Graduation at Parkridge Community Center, May 1986

See More information at the Ann Arbor District Library Website

Do you want to know what was going on with the Museum in 2020?

Click here for the 2020 Annual Report

Celebrating Black History Month 2021

Black History Month is an annual recognition of the history, achievements, and influence of the Black diaspora. The 2021 theme is, "The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity”.

 

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.

 

We come in every shade and hue that has been kissed by the sun and blessed by the moon.

James Baldwin on February 18, 1965, in his epochal debate with William F. Buckley Jr. at the University of Cambridge.

 16 Ways to Support, Explore, and Learn
  1. Support a Black business

  2. Donate to a Black organization

  3. Trace your family history

  4. Attend a local program or event

  5. Attend a national virtual event or program

  6. Read books or plays by Black writers

  7. Mentor or tutor young people

  8. Donate to an HBCU - Historically Black College and University

  9. Call out racism and prejudice in your community

  10. Engage in healthy conversations about African American culture and history

  11. Read Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speech or James Baldwin’s Pin Drop Speech

  12. Learn about an unsung or well known hero of Black history

  13. Share and teach what you learned about Black History

  14. Study the African Diaspora

  15. Learn all of the verses of Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing

  16. Register to vote and vote

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 kerrytownconcerthouse.com.

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.

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...