Voices

Freedom Center Voices

Monday, June 8, 2015 - 10:00

Mason man recalls Tiananmen Square

Guiru Zhang of Mason recently wrote in to the Cincinnati Enquirer, recalling his memories of living in Beijing during the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre.

He wrote in honor of the 26th anniversary of the massacre, which was part of the Chinese government’s crackdown of the pro-democracy movement of the late 1980s. For weeks in spring 1989, demonstrators, mostly students, protested in the square for freedom of speech, freedom of the press and government accountability, among other democratic concepts. On June 4, 1989, troops advanced on the square and opened fire. Estimates of the death toll range from China’s official count of 246 to 2,600. Click here for more on the history of the massacre.

USA Today reports that roughly 100,000 people participated in a remembrance vigil in Hong Kong last Thursday, June 4.

Zhang remembers studying at home on that morning in 1989, his junior high school having closed in response to the martial law intended to stop the protests at Tiananmen Square. At 10 a.m., he says, he heard gunshots a few blocks away in the direction of his younger brother’s grade school, which was still open. He describes how he crouched on his balcony to avoid stray bullets and watched anxiously for a sign of his brother. Half an hour later, his brother and two friends arrived, panting, at their house.

Zhang says memories of that day and knowledge of what has happened after have inspired him to take a strong stance in favor of human rights. He identifies harassment, imprisonment, torture and organ harvesting in China as unacceptable practices that continue on into the present.

“As long as I still have a voice,” Zhang wrote, “I will keep fighting for human rights that have been long overdue for the Chinese people.”

China does not recognize the massive death toll of the massacre and tightened security in the weeks leading up to the anniversary. The White House issued a statement last week supporting “the basic freedoms the protestors at Tiananmen Square sought” and called for China to account for the violence of the massacre.  Click here to learn more about responses to this year’s anniversary.

Click here to read Zhang’s article at The Cincinnati Enquirer’s website.

Elizabeth Cychosz
Marketing & Communications Intern

Friday, May 15, 2015 - 00:00

I Hear Music in the Air, Inc: 2015 Legends Ball

I Hear Music in the Air, Inc. announced this week the awardees of the 2015 Legends Ball. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is one of many organizations and individuals in the tri-state region to be honored during the evening’s event, for exemplary work in history education and preservation. President of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Clarence G. Newsome, PhD,  will accept the award on behalf of the organization.

The 14th Annual Legends Ball is the culminating event in the weekend-long I Hear Music in the Air Conference, celebrating leaders in four main categories: the gospel music industry, community leaders, educators and thought-leaders and global influencers. Throughout the weekend, thousands of people from across the country will gather in Cincinnati to connect and learn more about the Gospel music industry.

The conference will include something for everyone – a concert featuring regional and national artists including Pastor Donnie McClurkin, Israel Houghton, William McDowell and William Murphy, a master class focused on navigating the Gospel music industry, a new artist showcase and Bishop Hezekiah Walker’s Choir Fest. Sunday’s ball will feature a powerful keynote address from Pastor Charles Jenkins’ and selections from musical guest Brian Courtney Wilson.

The 14th Annual Legends Ball is presented by I Hear Music in the Air, Inc. and is open to the public. Tickets are $60. The event is black tie and will be held at the Sharonville Convention Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. followed by the program at 5:30 p.m. For more information on the I Hear Music in the Air Conference and this year’s honorees visit http://www.ihearmusicintheair.com/ihmconference/

 

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 00:00

The National Youth Summit 2015

“Unfortunately, many Americans live on the outskirts of hope--some because of their poverty, and some because of their color, and all too many because of both. Our task is to help replace their despair with opportunity [and declare] and unconditional war on poverty in America…It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won.” –President Lyndon B. Johnson

On April 28, local students participated in the 2015 Youth Summit, a national conversation on President Johnson’s War on Poverty, led by The National Museum of American History. Many of the programs that the War on Poverty created--including Headstart, Medicare and Medicaid--are familiar to us today. A group of local and national experts joined the conversation virtually including: Dr. Marcia Chatelain, Professor Peter Edelman, Melissa Boteach, Michael Tanner, Sherman B. Bradley, Kevin Finn and John Keuffer.

Students gathered in the Everyday Freedom Heroes Gallery to learn what poverty looks like today, if another War on Poverty is needed and what can young people do about the issue in their community. Click here to learn more about the annual Youth Summit and view current bios.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs? Click here to sign up for eNews and updates. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter, and on Facebook for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson
Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Image: The 2015 Youth Summit in the Everyday Freedom Heroes Gallery

More authored by Assia: Mother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 17:22

Cincinnatus Association Announces New Award Honoring Donald and Marian Spencer

[Updated ]

On May 5, The Cincinnatus Association announced a new award honoring Cincinnati Civil Rights icons, Donald and Marian Spencer. The Spencer's, known locally as the “First Couple of Civil Rights” in Cincinnati, will have their legacy immortalized in three separate awards: one for a nonprofit, for-profit and an individual, for “exhibiting conspicuous and enduring contributions to creating greater inclusion and promoting diversity in our community.

As many Cincinnatians know, the Spencer’s lives were filled with firsts. Donald was the first African American on the Cincinnati Park Board; the first African American broker on the Cincinnati Board of Realtors; the first African American Trustee at Ohio University. Marian integrated Coney Island so her children could swim in the pool; she was the first African American President of Woman’s City Club; the first African American Councilwoman and many other amazing accomplishments which we will highlight that evening.

Additionally, the Cincinnatus Association celebrated its own 95 years of civic activism and community improvement, including its support of groundbreaking efforts in diversity and inclusion. Click here to learn more about the signature event.

 

Image via Cincinnati.com.

Monday, May 4, 2015 - 15:15

Fair Trade Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

Still trying to figure out what to get mom this Mother's Day? The Freedom Center Gift Shop is full of great gift ideas, including beautiful handmade, fair trade accessories and jewelry that both celebrate mothers and elevate women and girls around the world.

This month's featured fair trade items come to us 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.

Baskets of Cambodia was formed in 1996 in war-torn Cambodia, in villages surrounding the famous temples of Angkor Watt. Their philosophy is to create high quality products that lend pride and self-esteem to all of people involved. In addition to finding a beautiful gift for mom that also empowers women and girls, members of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center receive an additional 10% off their purchase.

If you're looking for a meaningful family experience this Mother's Day weekend, bring your family in to see powerful and thought-provoking temporary exhibitions discussing civil and human rights open this spring:

UNLOCKING THE GATES OF AUSCHWITZ 70 YEARS LATER

OPEN NOW THROUGH MAY 27

Follow the journeys of local Auschwitz survivors, Bella Ouziel and Werner Coppel and explore how life and the spirit of resistance continued amidst the horrors of Auschwitz. 

POWER OF THE VOTE

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Power of the Vote, explores and chronicles the history of voting rights in America from the Reconstruction Era to the Civil Rights Movement to present day. 

Click here to view our seasonal hours and plan your visit.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs? Click here to sign up for eNews and updates. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter, and on Facebook for more historical posts and images. 

 

-Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Images: The Freedom Center Gift Shop display, featuring Baskets of Cambodia and Nomi Network accessories and clothes. 

More authored by Assia:  Flame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - 00:00

Docent Stories: James Brock, Celebrating 10 Years as a NURFC Docent

When I first learned of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC), I was newly retired and looking for ways to give back to the community. During that time, Candace Simmons was the volunteer coordinator at the NURFC and she invited me to be part of a committee discussing how volunteers would be an integral and essential part of the new center’s success. After learning more, I knew that this new role was right for me and became the volunteer stage manager for the NURFC ground-breaking ceremony, where I had the pleasure of escorting First Lady Laura Bush and Muhammad Ali to the podium to address the crowd. 

Needless to say, my volunteer commitment was strengthened.  This newly enhanced commitment followed me as I transitioned to become a member of the inaugural docent (exhibit guide) class under the management of Chris Shires.  The class was composed of some of the same docents who are still volunteering at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center today. It didn’t take long for me to realize the value of my volunteer commitment to the NURFC.  For me, it reflects a sense of belonging. For them, I believe it reflects their commitment to offer our visitors knowledge that can light up their lives, and at the same time, challenge them to become a light for others.

Through structured development and meaningful community experiences, I can explore and understand different cultures and educate our guests and visitors.  One such model is the current special exhibition, Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later. Such stories are absolutely necessary, but are so infrequently told.  As a docent of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, I’m inspired and believe that I can make a difference in the world and in our community.

James Brock, docent, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Image: James Brock touring a group on the 2nd floor in front of the Slave Pen

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 15:13

Freedom Center Seasonal Hours are Back

It's that time of year again--warmer weather, longer days and the return of seasonal visitor hours! School groups from across the region will be visiting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center this spring, to engage with history, learn about modern abolition and connect with the lessons of the Underground Railroad. In order to accommodate the influx of visiting school groups and the general public, the museum will be open Mondays in May, from 11 a.m... to 5 p.m.  So, if you are looking for an additional day to tour one of our permanent exhibitions, see one of our films in the Harriet Tubman Theater or experience a special exhibition before it closes, this extension will provide the perfect opportunity for you and your family! 

In addition to Monday's in May, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will be open two Sundays in April, the 12th and 26th, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 16 marks Yom Hashoah, which commemorates the victims of the Holocaust. In honor of this day of remembrance, we welcome you join us throughout the month of April to honor the lives of those who perished and celebrate stories of survival by visiting Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later.  In this special exhibition, you can learn more about the history of the Holocaust and the stories of two Cincinnati survivors, Bella Ouziel and Werner Coppel, before it closes at the end of May. 

 

Upcoming Programs and Events

Educator Workshop: Transform and Remember: Liberation and Rebuilding After Auschwitz

The John and Francie Pepper Freedom Lecture Series: Dr. Jonathan Scott Holloway Jim Crow Wisdom

Aruna Run: Cincinnati 5K

Online Exhibitions and Resources

Cincinnati's Soldiers: Men and Women in the First World War

Digital Collections and Exhibitions

 

Want the latest on upcoming events and programs? Click here to sign up for eNews and updates. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter, and on Facebook for more historical posts and images. #70YearsLater

 

-Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

More authored by Assia: Mother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Image: Detail of artifact inside Unlocking the Gates, part of the Steven F. Cassidy Collection.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 - 13:47

Jimmie Lee Jackson: The Murder that Sparked the Selma to Montgomery Marches of 1965

On February 26, 1965, Alabama civil rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson died after he was brutally beaten and shot by Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler during a peaceful voting rights march on February 18, 1965. His death would spark the Selma to Montgomery marches, organized by Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Director of Direct Action James Bevel, in an effort to channel community outrage. The Selma to Montgomery marches, three in total, were organized as part of the Selma Voting Rights Movement, whose efforts led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 later that summer. 

The first march took place on Sunday, March 7, a day that would become known as Bloody Sunday, when 600 peaceful marchers were met by state and local law men with tear gas and billy clubs on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Images of the violence in Alabama sparked national outrage and two days later, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a peaceful, symbolic march to the bridge.

After civil rights leaders received full protection to exercise their right to peacefully protest, the third and final march was held on Sunday, March 21, where over 3,000 marchers began the 54-mile trek to Montgomery. By the time they reached the steps of the state capitol on March 25, the number had grown to 25, 000.

In 2010, nearly 45 years after Jackson’s death, Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler was indicted and plead guilty to misdemeanor manslaughter. He was sentenced to six months in prison. You can learn more about the history of voting rights in Power of the Vote, open now.

 

-Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter, and on Facebook for more historical posts and images.

 

Images: Alabama activist Jimmie Lee Jackson, image of portrait Jimmie Lee Jackson in All for the Cause and image of the voting machine inside Power of the Vote

 

Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 13:19

Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Legacy

As the New Year Begins, the Community Gathers to Recommit to Dr. King's Dream

During the month of January, celebrations across the tri-state will reflect upon Dr. King's legacy and dream. At the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the 2015 King Legacy Awards Breakfast will highlight past King Legacy Award honorees and the courageous actions of the veterans of Freedom Summer 1964 and the foot-soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. The breakfast, which is presented in partnership with the MLK Coalition, has called the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center home for the past 8 years.

The program following the breakfast will be a celebration of courageous individuals, past and present, and honor the staff, docents and volunteers who have served the center for 10 years. In addition to reflections from past honorees, the program will feature performances from the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Glendale, Ohio and The Filo Quartet of Walnut Hills High School. Courtis Fuller of WLWT-TV will preside as master of ceremonies with a keynote speech from Freedom Center president, Clarence G. Newsome, Ph.D.  Below is a full list of events and activities happening in and around the Freedom Center on Jan. 19.

 FREE Programming at the Freedom Center MLK Day, Jan. 19

  • Family-friendly, hands on activities
  • Dramatic readings
  • First- person interpretations
  • admission to permanent and temporary exhibitions, including Power of the Vote, which explores and chronicles the history of voting rights in America from the Reconstruction Era to the Civil Rights Movement to present day 

Public Programming at the Freedom Center

  • 2015 King Legacy Awards Breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Grand Hall, followed by programming and performances in the Harriet Tubman Theater at 9 a.m. Tickets are $35. Call 513-333-7706 for ticket information
  • Freedom Center opens FREE to the public, open until 5 p.m. 
  • Martin Luther King Day March, beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Prior to the Martin Luther King, Jr. day events on the 19th, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center president, Clarence G. Newsome, Ph.D. will address the students of the University of Cincinnati, Tuesday, Jan. 13 in the TUC Great Hall beginning at 12 noon. In addition to Newsome's keynote speech, information will be provided to attendees detailing his theme, which presents various chronological concepts of freedom, from the perspective of "time" until the present thought, of what freedom should look like in our future society: "Freedom Yesterday, Freedom Today, and Freedom Forever." For more information on this event, contact MLK coordinator Eric Watford

 

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 

Images: Detail image of the voting machine inside special exhibit Power of the Vote.

Related Content: Kin Killin’ Kin, The Thirteenth Amendment.

More authored by Assia: 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

 

Monday, December 15, 2014 - 13:31

NURFC Youth Docent Graduation: Class of 2013-2014

Last year, the Links and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center's Youth Docents program held  the 2013-14 graduation ceremony and induction of the 2014-15 class in the Grand Hall. It was a night filled with reminiscing and pride for all that the previous year’s youth docents accomplished, as well as an opportunity for our new class to see where they would be just a year from now. Stories of students coming in as shy, introverted teens and leaving as confident young adults as a result of the youth docent training proved to everyone how important and life changing the experience can be.

In addition to learning about the content of the Center’s exhibits and serving as a resource for visitors, participants of the program also enhance their public speaking skills and work on personal development to make them more well-rounded students. The many hours of community service that they devote to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (over 30 hours each!) is great-- not only for resumes, but also for a personal sense of satisfaction.

Last year’s class of Links Youth Docents, represented by 13 local high schools, is full of energy and talent-- I can’t wait to hear from them during the Nov. 19th where they will share with their community, family and friends about what they accomplished in the past year! Students still have time to apply for this year's class of Youth Docents-- click here to fill out the online application. Be sure to follow the Links Youth Docents during their journey on Twitter @FCYouthDocents! 

 

Brittany Vernon, IMLS Coca Cola Museum Studies Apprentice

Related Content: Kin Killin’ KinMascots.

More authored by Brittany: Connecting Art with History: The Freedom Center Team Visits the Contemporary Art Center

Be sure to follow the Youth Docents on Twitter, @FCYouthDocents! Click here to learn more about the Youth Docent Program

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