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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces
New Exhibit, “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.”
Developed by the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and made possible through the generous support of the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, makes its inaugural opening on Saturday, August 17.
CINCINNATI, OH. (June 10, 2019) – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.” today. The exhibit will open for the first-time to the public on Saturday, August 17 through December 1, 2019 in the Skirball Gallery before continuing on a three-year, 10-city tour. Created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), “Men of Change” is made possible through the support of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services.
“Men of Change” 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.
“I can’t even begin to express how excited we are to host this new and exciting exhibition that highlights the accomplishments of these gentlemen and tells their stories from an intergenerational and artistic perspective,” says National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Deputy Director, Jacqueline Dace. “It is crucial that we all work together to change the narrative and by sharing the stories in this exhibit, we look to not only highlight the contributions of these men but also challenge the perception on how African American men are viewed, and shed a positive light on them.”
“We are honored as a Smithsonian Affiliate to help propel the Smithsonian Institution’s vision through this exhibit as it engages people with critical conversation on issues affecting our nation and the world,” says National Underground Railroad Freedom Center President and COO, Dion Brown. “By showcasing ‘Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.’ we encourage our visitors to engage in conversations and get an in-depth understanding of why the works of these men and the men from throughout their communities are so significant to America’s history.”
A diverse group of artists, advisors, academics, curators and museum professionals determined the men chosen as “Men of Change.” From Carter G. Woodson to Ryan Coogler, these men have changed entire fields, fought for justice, revolutionized art and touched millions of lives directly and indirectly. These men serve as metaphor, representing the many more men and the broader community that shaped them into important change agents. “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.” also incorporates the names and language of others—men and women—that signify the power of the African American journey in the American story.
“We hope that by experiencing ‘Men of Change’ visitors will see a lesson for us all, regardless of gender, race or nationality,” said Myriam Springuel, director of SITES and Smithsonian Affiliations. “In these men we see an absolute ideal and a well of inspiration that encourages us to become our best selves.”
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.”
“Ford and the Smithsonian have a shared commitment to honoring people and achievements that make our world a better place,” said Jim Vella, president of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “We are proud to partner with them on this innovative exhibition.”
“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.
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
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.