Freedom Center with Ford Motor Company Fund Announces Finalists in the Men of Courage Cincinnati Barbershop Challenge

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Freedom Center with Ford Motor Company Fund Announces Finalists in the Men of Courage Cincinnati Barbershop Challenge

Contact: Will Jones
Marketing and Communications Manager
(513) 333-7558
(513) 802-7355
wjones@nurfc.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center with Ford Motor Company Fund Announces Finalists in the
Men of Courage Cincinnati Barbershop Challenge

Barbershop Finalists, Razor 1 Kutz and Precision Blendz
will compete to win $10,000 grant over the next 90 days

CINCINNATI, OH. (August 9, 2019) – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center along with Ford Motor Company Fund announced the two finalists that will compete in the Men of Courage Cincinnati Barbershop Challenge. The Men of Courage program is a complimentary grassroots activation to the Smithsonian traveling exhibition “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.” opening in the museum’s Skirball Gallery on Saturday, August 17 - December 1, 2019.

The finalists in the Barbershop Challenge, Razor 1 Kutz and Precision Blendz, will compete over the next three months to win a $10,000 grant based on the shop’s implementation of initiatives and activities that educate and reinforce positive narratives around African American men. The Men of Courage Barbershop Challenge is an extension of Ford’s Men of Courage program – an initiative aimed at furthering the narrative of positive imagery and messaging around African American men. The challenge centers on a keystone in communities, the African American barbershop, and encourages shop owners to utilize their existing foundation for community conversation as a launch pad to turn those ideas into community outreach.

The Barbershop Challenge is in conjunction with “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.” created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). "Men of Change" is made possible through the support of Ford Motor Company Fund and highlights revolutionary men—including Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, W.E.B. Du Bois and Kendrick Lamar— whose journeys have altered the history and culture of the country through politics, sports, science, entertainment, business and religion. Each biography is paired with original artwork by a noted artist that accentuates the subjects’ individual legacies. The exhibition weaves a collective tapestry of what it is to be an African American man, past and present, and the legacy that only strengthens across generations. Participating artists include Nina Chanel Abney, Derrick Adams, Robert Pruitt, Tariku Shiferaw and Devan Shimoyama.

“The support that Ford Motor Company Fund is contributing is instrumental because it reflects the connection of how community and business should work together when striving toward a positive, common goal,” says National Underground Railroad Freedom Center President and COO, Dion Brown. “Ford Motor Company Fund truly understands how we must continue to challenge the thinking of the status quo by helping our communities share their stories from a firsthand perspective.”

“The businesses these gentlemen have established are staples in our communities that are outlets for the African American male to share his honest perspective,” says National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Deputy Director, Jacqueline Dace. “It is extremely important we support them in every way we can to allow them to keep their doors open and we are grateful to the Ford Motor Company Fund in doing just that with this activation.”

“We extend congratulations to the two barbershop finalists,” said Pamela Alexander, director of Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “We are excited for this new and innovative chapter in the Men of Courage program. These barbers are advocates and ambassadors in their community and we look forward to working with them.”

The “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.” exhibit is sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund, which continues its commitment to supporting the stories of all pockets of American culture, building from a relationship with SITES that includes past exhibitions “Freedom’s Sisters,” “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music,” and “Our Journeys, Our Stories: Portraits of Latino Achievement.”

Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.” opens to the public Saturday, August 17, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Tickets are $10 with general admission and $5 for members. For more information, visit freedomcenter.org.

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About National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org.

About SITES
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For more information, including exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit sites.si.edu.

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
As the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund’s mission is to strengthen communities and help make people’s lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in 63 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential. Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering. For more information, visit community.ford.com.

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