Tag: National Museum of African American History And Culture

Quiet Billionaire Robert Smith Makes Some Noise with $20 Million Gift to National African American Museum

In 2013, when the founders of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture were seeking donors, people directed them to one man: Robert F. Smith.

“We kept wondering, ‘Who is this Robert Smith?’ ” said Adrienne Brooks, director of development for the museum. Meeting Smith became a priority, said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s founding director. “We wanted to meet him. And soon,” Bunch said, laughing.

Soon many more people will know Robert Smith by name as the museum celebrates its grand opening this weekend. The private-equity financier was the museum’s second-biggest private donor, with a $20 million gift. Oprah Winfrey was No. 1, with $21 million.

Smith has built a fortune that’s made him one of the nation’s richest men — worth $2.5 billion, according to Forbes — but until now he has kept his work and philanthropy relatively quiet.

Even the website of his company, Vista Equity Partners, does not have a picture of him. Better, he had thought, that investors and executives know him first by his abilities. If they saw only the caramel skin of an African American, he might lose out on opportunities.

As Vista’s chairman and chief executive, he is in the business of buying, growing and selling off software companies. Vista’s portfolio has 35 companies with $26 billion in assets under management. He is the majority shareholder of Vista’s management company.

Beyond Wall Street and Silicon Valley, Smith long enjoyed moving in relative obscurity. That changed last fall when Forbes magazine put him on its cover, with an article for which he declined to be interviewed.

Now in an exclusive interview with The Washington Post, he’s ready to talk about his life’s work and the powerful social force that has pulled him out of the shadows: the racial tension escalating across the nation. Smith said he grew fearful that the very fabric of the country that allowed his parents to earn doctorate degrees and him to build a successful business is vulnerable.

Watching TV news, he saw the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., after the 2014 fatal shooting of an unarmed black youth, Michael Brown, by police. Last year he watched the turmoil following Freddie Gray’s funeral in Baltimore. Across the land, he feared, a sense of opportunity is giving way to rising hopelessness and despair.

“The vision I was sold as a kid is unraveling. I see the little tears in the fabric of society every day. This cannot be,” Smith said in the interview.

His philanthropic efforts go back years. Through the Fund II Foundation, of which he is the founding president, he has supported nonprofit groups that focus on African American culture, human rights, music education and the environment.

It was time to emerge, he thought, and do more. “We have to do something,” he said. “We have to do something for our community.”

To read full article, go to: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/who-is-this-robert-smith-a-quiet-billionaire-makes-some-noise-with-20-million-gift-to-the-african-american-museum/2016/09/23/547da3a8-6fd0-11e6-8365-b19e428a975e_story.html

Donations to National Museum of African American History and Culture to be Matched by Giving Day Sponsor Hyundai on 9/13 #GiveNMAAHC

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief
by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

In anticipation of its opening on September 24, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has launched a one-day giving campaign today, September 13th, to celebrate this momentous milestone for our nation and the African American community and to help ensure our future for all who follow.

We at GBN donated and signed up to aid this Giving Day effort, and will be posting and tweeting intermittently to help raise awareness and donations for NMAAHC.  If you’d also like to go beyond donating, you too can sign up to become a Giving Day Champion in celebration of a museum that tells a more complete story of America.

Simply click the link above to join and reach out to your network of friends and share the story of this amazing Museum. NMAAHC provides all the tools you need to spread the word about the Museum and this giving opportunity.

Thank you and let’s continue to share this amazing story of the African American experience with our nation and the world for generations to come.

To donate now, click here: https://givenmaahc.org/?utm_source=nmaahc.linkfast.com_donate_button&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=giveNMAAHC_2016_SF

FEATURE: How the Decades-Long Fight for a National African-American Museum Was Won

The museum, foreground, was designed by David Adjaye and sits on the National Mall near the Washington Monument, right. (MATT ROTH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)
The museum, foreground, was designed by David Adjaye and sits on the National Mall near the Washington Monument, right. (MATT ROTH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

article by Graham Bowley via nytimes.com

Eleven years ago, Lonnie G. Bunch III was a museum director with no museum.  No land. No building. Not even a collection.

He had been appointed to lead the nascent National Museum of African American History and Culture. The concept had survived a bruising, racially charged congressional battle that stretched back decades and finally ended in 2003 when President George W. Bush authorized a national museum dedicated to the African-American experience.

Now all Mr. Bunch and a team of colleagues had to do was find an unprecedented number of private donors willing to finance a public museum. They had to secure hundreds of millions of additional dollars from a Congress, Republican controlled, that had long fought the project.

And they had to counter efforts to locate the museum not at the center of Washington’s cultural landscape on the National Mall, but several blocks offstage.  “I knew it was going to be hard, but not how hard it was going to be,” Mr. Bunch, 63, said in an interview last month.

Visitors to the $540 million building, designed to resemble a three-tiered crown, will encounter the sweeping history of black America from the Middle Passage of slavery to the achievements and complexities of modern black life.

But also compelling is the story of how the museum itself came to be through a combination of negotiation, diplomacy, persistence and cunning political instincts.  The strategy included an approach that framed the museum as an institution for all Americans, one that depicted the black experience, as Mr. Bunch often puts it, as “the quintessential American story” of measured progress and remarkable achievement after an ugly period of painful oppression.

The tactics included the appointment of Republicans like Laura Bush and Colin L. Powell to the museum’s board to broaden bipartisan support beyond Democratic constituencies, and there were critical efforts to shape the thinking of essential political leaders.

After Congress authorized the new museum, the Smithsonian's Board of Regents considered four possible locations before choosing a site on the National Mall near the Washington Monument. (Source: Smithsonian Institution. By Anjali Singhvi, The New York Times)
After Congress authorized the new museum, the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents considered four possible locations before choosing a site on the National Mall near the Washington Monument. (Source: Smithsonian Institution. By Anjali Singhvi, The New York Times)

Long before its building was complete, for example, the museum staged exhibitions off-site, some on the fraught topics it would confront, such as Thomas Jefferson’s deep involvement with slavery. A Virginia delegation of congressional members was brought through for an early tour of the Jefferson exhibition, which featured a statue of him in front of a semicircular wall marked with 612 names of people he had owned.  “I remember being very impacted,” said Eric Cantor, then the House Republican leader, who was part of the delegation.

Mr. Bunch said that he hoped the Jefferson exhibition pre-empted criticism by establishing the museum’s bold but balanced approach to difficult material. “Some people were like, ‘How dare you equate Jefferson with slavery,’” he recalled. “But it means that people are going to say, ‘Of course, that is what they have to do.’”

And the museum began an exceptional effort to raise money from black donors, not only celebrities, like Michael Jordan ($5 million) and Oprah Winfrey ($12 million), but also churches, sororities and fraternities, which, Mr. Bunch said, had never been asked for big donations before. Continue reading “FEATURE: How the Decades-Long Fight for a National African-American Museum Was Won”

NBA Legend Michael Jordan Donates $5 Million to Smithsonian’s New African-American Museum

NBA Legend Michael Jordan (photo via biography.com)
NBA Legend Michael Jordan (photo via biography.com)

article via theurbandaily.com

Following his generous contributions of $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Michael Jordan is doing a lot more sharing these days.

According to reports, Jordan has donated $5 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture Museum. Officials revealed that the gift is the largest from a sports figure to the 19th Smithsonian museum and pushes private donations to $278 million. Including federal aid, the museum, which President Obama will open in September, has raised more than $548 million.

The NBA legend said in a statement, “I am grateful for the opportunity to support this museum. I also am indebted to the historic contributions of community leaders and athletes such as Jesse Owens, whose talent, commitment and perseverance broke racial barriers and laid the groundwork for the successful careers of so many African Americans in athletics and beyond.”

Source: Michael Jordan Donates $5 Million To African-American Museum | The Urban Daily

Baptist Church in Virginia Pledges $1M to Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture

Alfred Street Baptist Church members
Alfred Street Pastor Howard-John Wesley with James McNeil, Board of Trustees, Chair and Pat Johnson, Deacon Chair

Alexandria, VA — In the final days of 2015, Alfred Street Baptist Church (ASBC), one of the nation’s oldest historically African American churches located in Alexandria, Virginia, announced that it is pledging to donate $1 million to the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).

As such, the $1 million donation to the museum is the largest from a faith-based organization to date, thus allowing the church to be designated as a founding donor of the museum.

Scheduled to open in the fall of 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, DC adjacent to the Washington Monument, the museum will be a place where visitors can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to the lives of the American people, and how it helped shape this nation.

Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, the esteemed pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church said:

“We are very proud and honored to make this contribution to a museum that promises to contribute immensely to the knowledge base of African American history and culture.

This historic attraction will be an astounding and visionary force in our communities and lives for decades to come. More importantly, we as a church, understand the importance of learning about the accomplishments of African American people. Therefore, we realize that if we don’t tell and preserve our own history, our children will never know their real value.”

Accepting the donation on behalf of the Smithsonian’s NMAAHC was Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the museum, who said, “We are honored to have the support of Alfred Street Baptist Church, an institution that has generously served its community for more than 200 years and whose support will help ensure that the museum fulfills its mission to tell the American story through an African American lens.”

James McNeil, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Alfred Street Baptist Church, continued:

“We are pleased to be the first faith-based organization to contribute $1 million to this magnificent cultural development. I challenge others in the faith-based community to follow suit to ensure that the history of African Americans will be celebrated and shared with everyone regardless of their background. The story of our country’s greatness cannot be told without sharing how we live and work together to help America thrive.”

Continue reading “Baptist Church in Virginia Pledges $1M to Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture”

National Museum of African-American History and Culture To Become Five-Story Screen to Show 3D “Commemorate and Celebrate Freedom” Video Nov. 16-18

NMAAHC
The completed building of the National Museum of African American History and Culture will be transformed into a lively display one year before it opens. (National Museum of African American History and Culture)

When the sun goes down each evening between November 16 and 18, the museum’s south exterior, facing Madison Drive, and its west exterior, on 15th Street near the Washington Monument, will be illuminated by a seven-minute video, entitled “Commemorate and Celebrate Freedom.” Produced by the renowned filmmakers Stanley J. Nelson and Marcia Smith of Firelight Media, and animated by Quixotic Entertainment, the video projection will transform the museum into a five-story, block-long 3D canvas, according to museum officials.

“What we wanted to do was to metaphorically have the museum speak even before we open next year,” says Kinshasha Holman Conwill, deputy director of the museum.

“And the signal design element for our building is the corona: the three-tiered bronze colored element that has references in African sculpture and African American life and that identifies this building as something unique on the Mall. So to project on to that façade really gave us that opportunity to make the museum speak.”

The display, which the museum’s director Lonnie Bunch has called a “dynamic event,” will be accompanied by a soundtrack of historical music and spoken word, and will pay tribute to three significant moments in history: the culmination of the Civil War with the surrender at Appomattox on April 8, 1865; ratification of the 13th Amendment, which officially ended the institution of slavery on December 5, 1865; and the passage of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965.

“One of the things that [the film connects] to is the notion and the vision that the museum would be a place for those who already revel in African American history and culture,” says Conwill. “But most importantly,” she adds that the museum seeks to also provide a unique “lens into what it means to be an American and that those milestones in American history, as viewed through that lens, really amplifies that notion.”

On its opening night, November 16, the state-of-the-art digital projection imagery will also be accompanied by a live, outdoor program, produced and directed by Ricardo Khan, former artistic director of the Tony Award-winning Crossroads Theatre Co. Actor Erik Todd Dellums will serve as master of the ceremonies, which will include remarks by other dignitaries, including Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser; and U.S. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Continue reading “National Museum of African-American History and Culture To Become Five-Story Screen to Show 3D “Commemorate and Celebrate Freedom” Video Nov. 16-18”

Smithsonian Exhibit Parallels Emancipation, Civil rights

Smithsonian parallels Emancipation, Civil Rights

Smithsonian parallels Emancipation, Civil Rights

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington for Civil Rights were 100 years apart, but both changed the nation and expanded freedoms.

Beginning Friday, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is presenting a walk back in time through two eras. A new exhibit, “Changing America,” parallels the 1863 emancipation of slaves with the 1963 March on Washington.

Continue reading “Smithsonian Exhibit Parallels Emancipation, Civil rights”

David Adjaye Tops Britain’s PowerList 2013

David Adjaye is hailed as the UK's most inspirational black figure by the 2013 PowerList

David Adjaye is hailed as the UK’s most inspirational black figure by the 2013 PowerList. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

David Adjaye, the architect chosen to design Washington DC’s $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture, has topped a list of Britain’s most influential black people, ahead of double Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah and “The Wire” star Idris Elba.

In the sixth edition of the annual PowerList, the top 100 people regarded as role models in their fields, the Tanzanian-born founder of Adjaye Associates is hailed as an inspirational figure who saw off financial crisis during the recession to become one of the country’s most high-profile architects.

Continue reading “David Adjaye Tops Britain’s PowerList 2013”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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