“A Place for All People”
Smithsonian poster exhibition celebrates National Museum of African American History and CultureNews contact: Laura Hancock, University Advancement, 541-962-3585
LA GRANDE, Ore. March 21, 2017 – With the Smithsonian’s newest museum opening last September in Washington, D.C., the celebration continues locally as Eastern Oregon University hosts “A Place for All People: Introducing the National Museum of African American History and Culture.”
A poster exhibition all about the museum opens on campus April 3, and a public reception and presentation by Gwendolyn Trice, executive director of the Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center follows at 4 p.m. April 5 in the Multicultural Center on the second floor of the Hoke Union Building.
“A Place for All People” highlights key artifacts that tell the rich and diverse story of the African American experience. From the child-size shackles of a slave and the clothing worn by Carolotta Walls on her first day at Little Rock Central High School, to Chuck Berry’s Gibson guitar, “Maybellene,” and the track shoes worn by Olympian Carl Lewis, the exhibition presents a living history that reflects challenge, triumph, faith and hope.
The poster exhibition and Trice’s presentation are an opportunity for EOU to showcase the many stories of African American and African diaspora people and their contributions to the local community and the American story. Trice’s father lived and worked in the town of Maxville, constructed in 1923 in northern Wallowa County by a Missouri logging company and later closed in the 1930s. Many of its residents were African American loggers and their families who relocated from the south to northeastern Oregon.
“This exhibit showcases the contributions of African Americans to our nation’s history and offers the opportunity to explore the story of America through the lens of the African American experience,” said Bennie Moses-Mesubed, director of EOU’s Multicultural Center. “It has been described as providing ‘a place for healing, reconciliation and a tool for us to understand our past, deal with the present and look forward to a hopeful future.’”
“The event on April 5 with Gwen Trice sharing her story of African Americans in eastern Oregon will also connect our community’s diverse history, and help us gain a better understanding of our own lives,” Moses-Mesubed added. “We are delighted to have this opportunity to host the exhibit and for Gwen to be at EOU to share these stories, create awareness and connect the eastern Oregon African American history to our nation’s African American story.”
The journey to establish the new Smithsonian museum began a century ago with a call for a national memorial to honor the contributions of African American Civil War veterans. After decades of efforts by private citizens, organizations and members of Congress, federal legislation was passed in 2003 to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Since then, thousands of artifacts have been collected to fill the inspiring new building on the National Mall. Through its exhibitions and programs, the museum provides a shared lens to view the nation’s history and the possibility for hope and healing. It is a place where all can gather to remember, reflect and embrace America’s story: a place for all people.
The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture is organizing the exhibit at EOU, with sponsorship from the university’s diversity and vending committees for the reception and exhibit.
“A Place for All People” will be on view April 3-7 in the Multicultural Center in the main lounge on the second floor of the Hoke Union Building.