6 Organizations Celebrating Black History And Culture
Although racist systems of oppression have sought to silence and subordinate Black people since America's founding, the stories of African Americans have, and continue to remain, integral to the cultural vitality of the country. The organizations listed here are committed to protecting and celebrating their rich and varied legacies, offering exhibits, programs, and other educational experiences that extol Black culture. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
6 Groups That Preserve & Honor African-American Culture
|The Museum of UnCut Funk||Virtual||Educate all who visit about the original "uncut" funk, its architects, disciples, footprint, and legacy|
|Madam Walker Family Archives||Indianapolis, Indiana||Inspire, engage, and empower individuals in the culturally diverse community|
|Penn Center||St. Helena, South Carolina||Promote and preserve Penn's true history and culture through a commitment to education, community development, and social justice|
|Harrison Museum of African American Culture||Roanoke, Virginia||Advocate, showcase, preserve, and celebrate the art and history of African Americans for Roanoke Valley citizens and visitors|
|New Philadelphia Association||Barry, Illinois||Advance our understanding of free, rural communities and the abolitionist cause in the antebellum era|
|Sweet Blackberry Foundation||Virtual||Bring little known stories of African-American achievement to children everywhere|
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The history of black people in America is often brutal, violent, and heartbreaking, but amid the horror stories are tales of brilliant inventors, skilled professionals, impressive athletes, and unparalleled artists. Such stories rarely get their due, but the following groups, in no particular order, are doing an excellent job of rectifying this travesty.
Kicking things off at #1 is the Museum of Uncut Funk. This virtual museum, founded in 2009, began with a mission of educating the public about 1970's black culture through the lens of funk. The collection is a celebration of the music, fashion styles, and important moments in the black community during the era, or what the organization refers to as "uncut funk," and its enduring impact on culture today.
Featuring 28 online exhibitions, the museum's collection of more than 5,000 artifacts includes items ranging from black animation to advertisements, comic books, stamps, and Blaxploitation film memorabilia. The organization launched a series of traveling exhibitions in 2012, as well, giving hundreds of thousands of visitors the chance to see their collections in person.
The organization launched a series of traveling exhibitions in 2012, as well, giving hundreds of thousands of visitors the chance to see their collections in person.
At #2 is the Madam Walker Family Archives. Born in 1867, Walker was a black American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist, and the first female self-made millionaire in America through her cosmetic and hair care goods for black women. The archives, curated by Walker's relatives over the years, provide insight into those achievements.
There are two primary points of access to these archives. The first is through the family collection, stewarded by Walker's great-great-granddaughter, A'Lelia Bundles. Direct contact can be made to inquire about access. The second is through the Indiana Historical Society, which has 40,000 digitized records of the personal and business papers of Madam Walker, A'Lelia Walker, Freeman B. Ransom, and others who worked for the company.
Coming in at #3 is the Penn Center. Founded in 1862 as Penn School, it offered education to Gullah slaves who were freed after plantation owners fled the South Carolina island of Saint Helena. In 1948 when the state took over public education, it adopted its current name, transitioning into a cultural center, historic attraction, and meeting space and ultimately playing a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement.
In 1948 when the state took over public education, it adopted its current name, transitioning into a cultural center, historic attraction, and meeting space and ultimately playing a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement.
Today, the Center's primary mission is to promote and preserve Penn's true history and culture. The organization seeks to operate as a resource center and catalyst for the development of programs dealing with community self-sufficiency and civil and human rights. The campus features a museum dedicated to the history of the school, along with 25 historic buildings and structures guests can visit on their own or as part of a guided walking tour.
At #4 is the Harrison Museum of African American Cultures. The institution is dedicated to advocating, showcasing, preserving, and celebrating the art and history of people of African descent, cultivating an awareness of, and appreciation for, their notable contributions. Featuring memorabilia, photographs, and objects related to the African-American experience, the collection is supported by a series of oral histories that support the museum's dedication to telling an inclusive history of the Roanoke Valley.
In addition to the historic exhibits, the Museum features a variety of African and contemporary art, with new artists periodically rotated into its permanent display. The organization is also responsible for sponsoring the Henry Street Heritage Festival, offering diverse entertainment, educational forums, and a wide variety of African-American heritage displays ranging from crafts to cuisines, customs, and more.
The organization is also responsible for sponsoring the Henry Street Heritage Festival, offering diverse entertainment, educational forums, and a wide variety of African-American heritage displays ranging from crafts to cuisines, customs, and more.
Up next at #5 is the New Philadelphia Association. This organization focuses on an entire town and its significance to black history in the Midwest. Frank McWorter founded New Philadelphia in 1836, making it the first town planned and legally registered by an African American in the United States. With his earnings from land sales, McWorter went on to purchase 16 of his relatives from the clutches of slavery.
The New Philadelphia Association serves as a steward of McWorter's legacy, the history of the town, and the archaeological value of the area. Created in 1996 by local residents, the group seeks to preserve historical landmarks and artifacts related to the town's distinctive antebellum history. The group has saved historical buildings like the Burdick House, constructed a visitor's kiosk with historical information, and offers an augmented virtual reality tour of the town for the curious.
Finishing up at #6 is the Sweet Blackberry Foundation. The goal of the organization is to bring little known and enriching stories of African-American achievement to students. It recognizes that schools often do not have the resources or time to teach these inspirational and empowering narratives, and seeks to fill the gap.
It recognizes that schools often do not have the resources or time to teach these inspirational and empowering narratives, and seeks to fill the gap.
Founded by "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" actress Karyn Parsons, the organization works with schools to bring her to their students. Each presentation is tailored to the engagement, but all include a number of underappreciated stories about overcoming the odds through the lens of African-American history. The group also provides a variety of lesson plans and activities for educators and parents seeking to address the topics on their own.