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Cause Magazine


“America I AM: The African American Imprint,” is a fas- cinating new museum exhibition that celebrates 400 years of African American struggles, triumphs and contributions to this country. Through the combined use of multimedia and historical artifacts the words, sounds, images and objects bring to life the story of the African American experience from the 17th Century to the present. For the first time, these items have been assembled together in a moving and illuminating timeline of history and cul- ture. Many of these rare and never-before-seen artifacts are on loan from domestic and international private collections. Visitors will see a wide range of objects; everything from original slave shackles to the actual stool that Dr. Martin Luther King sat on while writing his famous “Letter From a Birmingham Jail. The impressive col- lection of original documents includes items such as Fredrick Douglass’ “Bill of Sale” and Malcolm X’s personal Koran. Dramatic galleries are arraigned to showcase major themes using rare and never-before-seen artifacts like a


rare American flag used by a “black brigade” in Cincinnati dur- ing the Civil War, a Ku Klux Klan costume, and Ali’s Boxing gloves. Pop artifacts like Prince’s guitar are also included. This one-of a-kind touring exhibition will be travelling to various cities in the US over the next four years. Already, people in more than forty communities nationwide have seen a small preview of the exhibit through “America I AM


Across America” a mini mobile version of the exhibition. During the five month “super truck” tour, several Walmart stores across the country served as temporary hosts. The multi-sensory expe- riential “super truck” hit the road in July 2008, visiting African American museums, festivals, landmarks and schools. This was a promotional tour done in advance of the opening of the full exhibit. The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia hosts the national debut of the actual show, which was developed in part- nership with Tavis Smiley’s The Smiley Group, Inc., and organ- ized by the talented people of Cincinnati Museum Center and Arts and Exhibitions International (AEI), which recently brought the King Tut exhibition to Philadelphia. This important exhibi- tion will run January 15 to May 3, 2009, before it moves on to its next site. The fascinating show presents a historical continuum of pivotal moments in courage, conviction and creativity that solidifies the undeniable imprint of African Americans across the nation and around the world. The exhibit has been in the plan-


ning stages for years, but as it turned out the timing couldn’t be better. With the election of our first African American President of the United States, the journey that the show so eloquently describes takes on an added dimension."The lessons and exam- ples of this collection are more important, and more relevant, than ever,” said Bill Simon, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores US, the exhibit sponsor. “Only after looking back with honesty, can we as


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