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Freedom's Sister Opening at The Women's Museum

Sonia Sanchez (Courtesy Marion Ettlinger)

Sonia Sanchez (Courtesy Marion Ettlinger)

Freedom’s Sisters
The Women’s Museum
Opens Saturday, April 24, 2010

It would be difficult to imagine the course of American history without them: Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad; Rosa Parks and her brave refusal in 1955 to relinquish her seat on a Montgomery city bus; Fannie Lou Hamer and her courageous stand at a 1968 political convention. These stories of courage and commitment are among the many featured in Freedom’s Sisters, collaboration between Ford Motor Company Fund, the Cincinnati Museum Center, and the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The interactive exhibit showcases twenty extraordinary African American women, inviting visitors to bear witness to some of the most important moments in our nation’s history. The exhibition will open to the public at The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future, Saturday, April 24, 2010.

“The women honored in Freedom’s Sisters are an inspiration to people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “Ford is proud to fund this national exhibition celebrating women who have truly changed our country and our world.”

Activities in support of the exhibition begin Thursday, April 22, 2010, with a private reception for the Freedom’s Sisters local Committee of Honor and other dignitaries. Honored guests will include Freedom’s Sister Sonia Sanchez along with Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier who will emcee the event.

“The Women’s Museum is honored to present the inspiring stories of twenty outstanding African American heroines of American history” said Wanda Brice, CEO of The Women’s Museum. “In addition to the excitement of the exhibit, the community outreach connected to the Freedom’s Sisters is extraordinary. We believe the Ford Fund’s vision is a perfect fit for the mission of The Women’s Museum.”

A variety of engaging educational and community outreach programs are planned during the exhibition’s run. In conjunction with the 20 national Freedom’s Sisters, the Museum honors 20 local Freedom’s Sisters in the exhibition. These women exemplified locally the same courage and commitment in the North Texas community. In addition, an essay contest is open to students in 4th-8th grade who visit the exhibit and answer the question: “Who is your favorite Freedom Sister and why?” Ford Motor Company will award $10,000 in U.S. savings bonds to winning entries. The contest deadline is June 4, 2010.

“It is an honor to be a part of the Freedom’s Sister national exhibition,” said poet and activist Sonia Sanchez. “As the poet Robert Hayden once said, ‘It is time to call the children into the evening quiet of the living room and teach them the lessons of their blood.’ Freedom’s Sisters will teach our children lessons of history, struggle and blood of African Americans. Our children, the middle aged, the elderly will learn the lessons of the blood of the people that have shaped and moved not only America but the world.”

The exhibition has been embraced by a prestigious National Committee of Honor. Members of the Freedom’s Sisters Committee of Honor include Quincy Jones, Dr. Mae Jemison, General Colin Powell, Patti LaBelle and a wide range of national dignitaries, reflecting the exhibition’s broad appeal.

“These 20 women left not a footnote but a footprint on American history,” said SITES Director Anna R. Cohn. “Many of their stories may not be well known, but their roles and contributions were monumental in shaping our country and its conscience.”

Organized around four themes – “Dare to Dream,” “Inspire Lives” “Serve the Public” and “Look to the Future,” Freedom’s Sisters is designed especially as an educational tool targeting students. Historical simulations and interactive displays are being set up to drive home messages and meanings central to each woman’s life.

“The inspiring stories of these women should be told and told again,” said Cincinnati Museum Center president and CEO Douglas W. McDonald. “Cincinnati Museum Center is honored to create this extraordinary exhibit and can only hope that we can provide an extension to the legacies of these strong, courageous and trailblazing women.”

Freedom’s Sisters was created by Cincinnati Museum Center and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The national tour is made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund. The exhibition will remain at The Women’s Museum through July 4, 2010, then continues on the three-year national tour to Atlanta and Baltimore.

For more information on the Freedom’s Sisters exhibition, visit thewomensmuseum.org or call 214.915.0860

Freedom’s Sisters

  • Ella J. Baker
  • Constance Baker Motley
  • Shirley Chisholm
  • Mary Church Terrell
  • Septima Poinsette Clark
  • Kathleen Cleaver
  • Myrlie Evers-Williams
  • Fannie Lou Hamer
  • Dorothy Height
  • Charlayne Hunter-Gault
  • Barbara Jordan
  • Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Rosa Parks
  • Sonia Sanchez
  • Coretta Scott King
  • Betty Shabazz
  • Harriet Tubman
  • C. Delores Tucker
  • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
  • Ida B. Wells

About Ford

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 224,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services is committed to creating opportunities that promote corporate citizenship, philanthropy, volunteerism and cultural diversity for those who live in the communities where Ford operates. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2009 and made possible by funding from Ford Motor Company, Ford Motor Company Fund supports initiatives and institutions that foster innovative education, auto-related safety, and American heritage and legacy. National programs include Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, which provides high school students with academically rigorous 21st century learning experiences, and Driving Skills for Life, a teen-focused auto safety initiative. The Ford Volunteer Corps, established in 2005, continues Ford’s legacy of caring worldwide. Through the Volunteer Corps, Ford employees and retirees participate in a wide range of volunteer projects in their communities. For more information on programs made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, visit www.community.ford.com.

About Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is home to the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater, and the Cincinnati Historical Society Library. It is a nationally recognized educational and research resource and one of the top cultural attractions in the Midwest. Cincinnati Museum Center serves more than one million visitors annually, reaching out to almost 200,000 young people through hands-on exhibits and programs. As a center for the community, more than 700 events are held in the building each year. Originally built in 1933 as the Union Terminal train station, the building is a national historic landmark and was renovated and reopened as Cincinnati Museum Center in 1990. For information, call (513) 287-7000 or 1-800-733-2077 or visit www.cincymuseum.org.

About Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 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 www.sites.si.edu.

About The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future

The Women’s Museum, celebrating a decade of empowering women in association with the Smithsonian Institution, is the nation’s only comprehensive women’s history museum that chronicles the lives of American women through interactive exhibits. The Women’s Museum is supported, in part, by the City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m. (closed Mondays). For more information, please visit www.thewomensmuseum.org.

Sonia Sanchez (Courtesy Marion Ettlinger)

Sonia Sanchez (Courtesy Marion Ettlinger)

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