Voices

Freedom Center Voices

Monday, May 2, 2016 - 09:39

Comments on The Image of Harriet Tubman on the U.S. $20 Bill

The richness of American diversity and the multifaceted contributions to American democracy is making an appearance on American currency. Harriet Tubman’s image on the American $20 bill represents a recognition of the role people of color and women played in making the United States of American a beacon of hope for the world. Tubman is known primarily as an abolitionist, fighting against slavery, and as the matriarch of the Underground Railroad, navigating the route to freedom for persons bold enough to escape from slavery. She was also an indispensable part of the military efforts of the Union Army. Tubman served the Union Army as a cook, a nurse, a scout, and a resourceful spy who risked her life moving through the south gathering intelligence which aided the union cause. Tubman represents the depth of American liberty. About liberty she stated, “I would fight for liberty so long as my strength lasted.” It was most appropriate that when she died Harriet Tubman was buried with military honors. She was a solider for the cause of the Union of the United States. She was also a solider for justice, for women’s rights, for the rights of all persons to enjoy the American dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I am particularly pleased that Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who I had the honor of meeting when he served as Deputy Secretary of State and I served as U.S. Ambassador to the African Union, has taken the bold step in recognizing Harriet Tubman’s contribution to American democracy by placing her image on one of our nation’s most widely used pieces of currency. As Executive Vice President of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the home of the Harriet Tubman Theatre, I am hopeful that the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will be one of the places for a public unveiling of the currency and a public discussion of contributions to American democracy made by Harriet Tubman. 

 

Dr. Michael A. Battle, Executive Vice President/Provost of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Related Content:  The Thirteenth AmendmentThis Week: Satchel Paige and the Kansas City SwingKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkThe 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games

Monday, May 2, 2016 - 08:42

Freedom Center Open Mondays in May

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will be open to the public each Monday in May from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The museum’s regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The additional hours of operation are needed to accommodate the demand for school group visits throughout the month of May. Nearly 8,000 students will visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center this month.

Students from across the region will visit the museum this month, as well as students from Iowa, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.



The additional hours for school groups provide more opportunities for the public to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and see rare, original copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and Thirteenth Amendment. The exhibit featuring both freedom documents side-by-side closes June 30, 2016. Visitors will also have the opportunity to tour ENSLAVED: A Visual Story of Modern Day Slavery opening Saturday, May 7, 2016ENSLAVED features images by world-renowned humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine that not only document the lives endured by slaves but also celebrate the freedom they never dreamed possible.

Related Content: ENSLAVEDThe Thirteenth Amendment.

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 14:57

Chris Felix Artwork Available for Purchase During Screening of American Pastime

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will host local artist Chris Felix May 4, whose commissioned artwork of American baseball legend Kenichi Zenimura entitled “Kenichi Zenimura, Go for Broke,” will be on view and available for purchase at the screening of American Pastime—a compelling drama, directed Desmond Nakano, set in the Topaz War Relocation Center that interned thousands of Japanese Americans during WWII.

The screening of American Pastime is the fourth film in The Freedom Film series and will take place Wednesday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Harriet Tubman Theater. The screening is free and open to the public. A welcome reception will be held in the Grand Hall at 5:30 p.m. with the film screening promptly at 6:30 p.m. The Freedom Film Series is sponsored by Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.

 

 

Felix, a Cincinnati native and College of Art Advertising alumni, has been featured in museums across the country including, The Louisville Slugger Museum, The National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (New York), The Green Diamond Gallery (Cincinnati), The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, The Museum Center at Cincinnati Union Terminal, The National Art Museum of Sport (Indianapolis), The George Krevsky Gallery (San Francisco), Convivio Center (San Diego) and the Art on the Levee Gallery (Newport). His art encapsulates the excitement of the great American pastime while celebrating and highlighting Cincinnati’s unique history and role in the sport and its unique players.

Felix’s skill in calling out little-known stories in a widely discussed sport helped to bring Kenichi “The Dean of the Diamond” Zenimura’s compelling story to the forefront of the discussion, where race and civil rights intersect with professional sports. Zenimura was born on January 25, 1900 in Hiroshima, Japan. Shortly after his birth, his family immigrated to America, where they settled in Honolulu, Hawaii. Zenimura’s career in professional baseball began in 1920 in Fresno, California, where he played on all Japanese-American professional teams. He became known as “The Father of Japanese American Baseball,” for his unique ability to play all positions and work collaboratively with Japanese-American, Negro League and Major League teams, quickly becoming an international ambassador for baseball, where he led tours to Japan in 1924, 1927 and 1937. During WWII, Zenimura and his family were sent to the Gila River Indian Reservation at the Gila River War Relocation Center in Arizona, where he immediately began to establish a baseball field and 32-team league. His efforts would give the hundreds of thousands of interned Japanese Americans a sense of pride and hope during a time of unjust, heighted paranoia and mistrust of a group of Americans.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: ENSLAVEDThe Thirteenth Amendment.

More authored by Assia: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces New CuratorReveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 14:53

Gift Shop Sale: Mother's Day Gift Ideas and More!

Still trying to figure out what to get mom this Mother's Day? The Gift Shop at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is full of great gift ideas—including beautifully and locally hand-crafted jewelry, art, souvenirs, apparel, books, toys, fashion accessories, housewares and more!  Now is the perfect time to purchase an inspired gift for mom during our store-wide 50% off sale, where Freedom Center members get an additional 20% off their purchase!

One of our featured fair trade items is from the Nomi Network and Baskets of Cambodia—two non-profits working to empower survivors of human trafficking with economic and educational opportunities. The Nomi Network was founded in 2009, creating economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking. Through their network, women gain employable skills, secure vital income and educate their daughters, breaking the cycle of poverty and exploitation.

If you’re looking to gift an experience your mom won’t soon forget, take her to the opening of ENSLAVED—the new special exhibition opening May 7 that documents the lives endured by slaves and celebrates the freedom they never dreamed possible.  The exhibition is a powerful statement about one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time with compelling photography that captures the experience of a moment lived in slavery, allowing the viewer to peek into the lives of those who are enslaved. Click here to learn about the exhibit opening with the photographer of the exhibition, Lisa Kristine.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: ENSLAVED, The Thirteenth Amendment.

More authored by Assia: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces New Curator, Reveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 17:08

This Week: Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing

Play Ball!

Just in time for baseball season, Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing heads to the mound at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park,  running April 23 to May 21. The play is an inspirational new drama by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan, whose collaboration about the Tuskegee Airmen, Fly, was a smash Playhouse hit in 2013.

Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing finds the pitcher at the crossroads of his already legendary career. It’s the fall of 1947, and Paige’s fame is being eclipsed by Jackie Robinson’s historic inaugural season. Robinson was the first African-American player in the modern era to break Major League Baseball’s color line. Paige’s team is in the midst of the unofficial end-of-season barnstorming circuit, in which all-star black and white teams could play against each other. Bob Feller is the white pitcher he’s set to face on a rainy night in Kansas City.

Thanks to that rainout, much of the action takes place off the field in Mrs. Hopkins’ elegant black boarding house, where the players congregate to wait for the mud-washed roads to become passable. Mrs. Hopkins represents Kansas City’s cultured, successful if separate black middle class, while her teenaged daughter Moira strains against the segregated status quo. A story of passion and perseverance, this jazz-infused drama paints a vivid picture of America on the brink of great change — on and off the baseball diamond.

“I hope what audiences take from Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing is that there was a time in America when we had our own kings and queens within black communities,” says Khan, who is also directing the Playhouse production. “That’s what we were. I want us to be proud of those lost legacies and be inspired to a greatest sense of ourselves today. Although segregated, we were at the top of our game — not major and minor, just us.

“I hope we not only come out of this knowing a little more about the history, but also with knowledge and a sense of pride, along with an appreciation that segregation does not exist like that anymore. If we got through all that, I believe that the forces that try to tear us apart today are things we can also handle.”

The Playhouse is offering Freedom Center members an exclusive discount on tickets to Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing. Members can purchase up to four half-price tickets to performances from April 24 to May 5, excluding Saturdays. This offer is valid in Price Zone 2 and 3 section seating by using promotion code Freedom. It is not valid on previous purchases or with other discounts, including teen and student tickets.

Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing is sponsored by Ohio National Financial Services and Fifth Third Bank. Tickets for the show are on sale now through the Playhouse Box Office. For details, call 513-421-3888 or visit www.cincyplay.com.

 

Christa Skiles, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

Related Content:  The Thirteenth Amendment, King Records now a Cincinnati landmark, The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games

Images provided by Cincinnati Playhouse

Friday, April 22, 2016 - 12:11

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces New Curator

This month, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced the appointment of Ashley Jordan of Mansfield, OH, to the role of curator. Jordan's appointment comes as the museum approaches the close of its 2015-2016 theme, "Stories That Must Be Told."

As an undergraduate student at Kent State University, Jordan was a member of the Ronald McNair Scholar’s Program. In 2008, she graduated with a B.A. in History with a minor in Political Science. Shortly after graduation, Jordan accepted a position as a Community Organizer through AmeriCorps. Upon the completion of her one-year service term, she accepted an academic scholarship to attend Howard University for her graduate studies in Public History where she received sound educational training as well as gainful internship experiences. Jordan has had the opportunity to work with the National Museum of American History’s African American Community Life Division; Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial; Mary McLeod Bethune Council House; the National Park Foundation and Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit.

 

In the spring of 2011, she graduated with her Masters, but her commitment to understand and cultivate greater depths in the United States History prompted her to continue her studies. Thus, the following school year she entered the Ph.D. Program at Howard University. As a doctoral student, with an expected graduation date of spring 2017, Jordan’s topic of research is “Steeling Our Way to the Midwest: The Migration of African Americans to Ohio.” The scope of her study looks at the “push-pull factors” that caused many African Americans to flee to the North. The timeline of research begins with the Underground Railroad and concludes with the First Great Migration.

Prior to her arrival at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Jordan spent the last two years as the curator of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio. “Ms. Jordan’s arrival to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center marks another exciting moment in our second decade of operation,” says Dr. Michael Battle, executive vice president and provost of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “Her experience and background, coupled with her passion and dedication to education and the preservation of history, will surely strengthen our institution’s reputation as a museum of history and of conscience. It’s an honor to welcome her to the Freedom Center family.”

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: The Thirteenth Amendment.

Image: Ashley Jordan

More authored by Assia: Reveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 13:26

In Memoriam: Remembering & Celebrating the Life of Mrs. Jackie Wallace

 

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center family is mourning the loss of a beloved colleague, friend and life-long educator, Mrs. Jackie Wallace. Her passion for the work of the Freedom Center was immeasurable and her love for the people she worked with was even more so. Mrs. Wallace was more than a co-worker – she was a dear friend, mother and caregiver to many. There are no words for the loss that is already felt in our hearts.

At this time, we ask that you hold Mrs. Wallace’s family up in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, February 27, 2016 - 00:31

Freedom Center Named Top Historical Spot In Ohio Worth Traveling For

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has been named as one of FlipKey’s Top Historical Spots Worth Traveling For, representing the state of Ohio on the 2016 national list. FlipKey, a TripAdvisor company and leading vacation rental service featuring the world's largest collection of verified vacation rental guest reviews, recognized the museum as one of the country’s “living legends [that] embodies the history and culture of their region.”

The Freedom Center represents Ohio on the list alongside forty-nine other prestigious institutions and museums across the country, including; the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana, the New York Historical Society Museum & Library in New York City, the Prestwould Plantation and historic site in Clarksville, Virginia and the B Reactor of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Richland, Washington.

Matt Moretti, Sr. Content and Media Analyst, staff editor at FlipKey, noted how the museum's unique content and mission connects with visitors, “The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati was an easy choice to represent Ohio for our 50 States: Top Historical Spots list. The stories and exhibits at this museum showcase incredible bravery during one of the most tumultuous times in our country’s history. It is a must-visit attraction in Ohio."

The Center received the recognition from FlipKey in its eleventh year of operation with the theme, “Stories That Must Be Told.” The year-long theme explores and examines national conversations on race, civil rights, cultural appropriation and youth violence through community dialogues, engaging public programming and compelling special exhibitions including: Kin Killin’ Kin, Mascots, the Emancipation Proclamation and Thirteenth Amendment.

To view the full list of museums that made the Top 50, click here. For more information on special exhibitions, public programming and hours visit freedomcenter.org. Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: Kin Killin’ KinThe Thirteenth Amendment.

More authored by Assia: 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest: Now Accepting EntriesReveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman, 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 11:20

2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest: Now Accepting Entries

This week, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced the 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest—a nationwide student art competition challenging students to create works of art capturing America’s struggle for inclusive freedom and equality.

The Picture Freedom Art Contest is sponsored by Toyota and was developed in 2015 by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to help students draw connections from the Underground Railroad to the Civil Rights Movement to the modern day fight against slavery—providing them with a unique opportunity to learn from America’s struggle for freedom and human rights in an engaging way. Students will also have access to online resources and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s extensive collection of historical resources and exhibitions, enabling them to become better acquainted with freedom’s heroes in person and online.

The winning artworks will be featured in a special exhibit on display beginning July 2016 in the museum’s second and third floor galleries. Last year’s grand prize winner, Jasmyne Leigh Laguna, elaborated on her experience participating in the competition, “I have read and studied about the people that fought and hoped for these unjust times to change. Education and awareness are two of the most important foundations of freedom. The sacrifices of those who stood up for equality paved the path for others to follow,” says the Tucson, Arizona native. “It is important to remember all of the people that brought us to this point in time. We have achieved so much in the hope that we can all come together as equals and live in peace forever. We, as a nation, have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go before we can keep moving forward as a community, walking hand in hand with our heads held high.”

The 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest is sponsored by Toyota and is now accepting entries—click here to view full contest rules and learn how to enter.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: Olympic Pride, American Prejudice.

Image: Walking Hand in Hand, By Jasmyne Leigh Laguna, Grand Prize Winner from Sonoran Science Academy, 12th Grade, Tucson, Arizona

More authored by Assia: Reveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman, 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 15:18

Reveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games

The Courageous 18: David Albritton

History remembers and celebrates Jesse “the Buckeye Bullet” Owens and his meteoric rise to fame after winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics. However, it seems as if history has almost all but forgotten the 17 other black American athletes, 15 men and 2 women, who competed alongside him. Coffee Bluff Pictures and filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper have not forgotten and are telling the stories of the courageous 18 in a new documentary, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, screening at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center February 3.  

In the documentary, the film follows the lives and careers of the brave Olympians, including that of Alabama- born and Ohio- raised David Albritton.  Albritton set the World Record in the high jump with fellow United States Olympic Team member Cornelius Johnson at the 1936 Olympic Trails. Both Johnson and Albritton were the first African Americans to hold a world record in the event.

Albritton was born in Danville, Alabama and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where he met his future Olympic teammate Jesse Owens at Cleveland’s East Technical School. Both would go on to attend the Ohio State University, where they enjoyed academic and athletic success despite the extreme racism and discrimination they faced, restricting them and other African American teammates to ordering carry-out or eating at blacks-only restaurants and staying in blacks-only hotels while traveling with the team.  

 Albritton, left and Owens, right, before the 1936 Olympic Games. Both athletes’ families relocated to Ohio during the Great Migration.

Albritton would go on to win the silver medal in the high jump in Berlin, with a leap of six feet, six and three-quarters inches. Following the Olympics, Albritton returned Columbus, Ohio where he won two additional NCAA titles in the high jump category, in 1937 and 1938. While he was a student at OSU, Albritton received a working scholarship as a page in the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate that would later inspire his run for the House in 1960, where he served six terms in the General Assembly. While in the house, Albritton served on the Education, Insurance, and Taxation Committees and in 1969, he became the first African American to chair a House committee.

Following his graduation from the Ohio State University in 1938, Albritton began working as an industrial arts teacher at Dunbar High School in Dayton, OH. During his tenure at Dunbar, Albritton coached track and field where he led his teams to three state titles. Albritton was an entrepreneur and businessman who operated an insurance business for more than thirty years.

In addition to his contributions to civil service and the business community, Albritton served as a trustee of Wright State University where he successfully campaignedto have a street named after Olympic track star Edwin Moses. Albritton's achievements in athletics were recognized when he was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1980, the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978, and the Ohio Sport Hall of Fame. Click here to watch the full trailer for Olympic Pride, American Prejudice

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: Olympic Pride, American Prejudice.

More authored by Assia: International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman, 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

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