|Alpha Kappa Alpha to Highlight Members’ Contributions to Civil Rights Movement in Specially-Mounted Museum|
|Written by Administrator|
|Thursday, 12 July 2012 10:30|
CHICAGO, Ill. – Alpha Kappa Alpha members Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King were trailblazers in the Civil Rights Movement whose courage and convictions changed the course of history. While they gained international fame, hundreds of members of Alpha Kappa
Alpha are among the Unsung Heroes who fought to achieve racial equality.
As a tribute to these pioneers, the Sorority will celebrate their contributions to the Movement through a Museum Exhibit the Sorority will mount titled, Unsung Alpha Kappa Alpha Women
of the Civil Rights Movement. International President Carolyn House Stewart will preside over the official opening of the Museum on Sunday, July 22 in Hall D of the Moscone Center. Among
the dignitaries who will attend the opening ceremony is the Rev. Dr. Bernice King, daughter of the late Martin and Coretta Scott King, who is also a member of the Sorority.
The public is invited to visit the Museum, which is free and will be open on Sunday, July 22 at 3p.m., following the Town Hall and immediately before the Public Meeting.
According to Alpha Kappa Alpha’s President Stewart, the Museum will showcase members who have been a part of the civil rights movement since the Sorority’s founding in 1908 up to the present time. “These pioneers marched, sat in, participated in non-violent demonstrations, fought for equal pay, human rights and social justice lawsuits and initiatives. They also led major organizations, became pioneering students and educators and artists – all to knock down barriers, overcome exclusion and exploitation, eliminate the color bar, stand up to Jim Crow and fight the many battles for 20th and 21st century equality. They have given their time, talents and finances
to every civil rights organization and women's rights organization throughout the United States and globally as part of the ongoing crusade to achieve equality for all.”
Taken from members’ private collections and the Sorority’s archives at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, the Museum will feature captivating historical photographs, artifacts and memorabilia in a multi-paneled exhibit that will take up the entire Hall.
The Museum will also include oral histories and videos. There will also be quotes from members who dramatically recall the horrors of being attacked by dogs and billy clubs but who also revel in triumphing over inequality and in being “difference makers.”
As a dynamic complement to the Museum, the names of the over 340 members who stood up to historic civil and human rights challenges are featured on a Celebration Wall in the Exhibit, which will be located in the Hall of Fame.
In addition to Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, members whose heroics will be highlighted include those from every region where AKA has chapters. Those from California include Christine B. Burke, originally from Oakland, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, Irma Carson and
Lynette P. Henley.
Told in a chronological timeline, members’ stories will capture the essence of the struggle, while serving as sources of inspiration.
The Museum focuses on several eras in the history of the Movement.
Section A: The Pioneering Prelude: 1908 – 1953.
Members of AKA were pioneers who helped integrate public facilities. The Museum traces the drama and the history of this period when Blacks could not eat in restaurants, stay in hotels or motels, swim in public beaches or pools, or attend the same schools or churches used by whites.
Section B: Erasing the Color Bar: 1954 – 1959.
The historic crusade to integrate public schools is chronicled in members’ involvement in Brown vs. Board of Education and the bravery of the Little Rock Nine who endured violence, taunts
and governmental defiance to achieve public school integration. Minniejean Brown-Trickey and Thelma Mothershed-Wair, members of the Sorority, were among the Little Rock Nine.
Section C: Battles for Equality: 1960 – 1965
This era reflects the tenacity of members who were active in Civil Rights Organizations like SCLC, CORE, SNCC. These valiant members worked with the Freedom Riders, participated in sit-Ins and economic boycotts, led Voter Registration Drives, and attended the March on Washington. A spotlight will be placed on members who were involved in the sit-ins at various Woolworth's Stores around the country.
Section D: Epilogue/Contemporary: 1966 – Present
This section traces the ongoing mission of members who are devoted to continuing to achieve equality for all.
The Museum is being mounted under the direction of the Sorority’s International Archives Committee whose chairman is Hansonia Caldwell Harriford of California. In reflecting on the symbolism of the Museum, she declared that it stands as a “graphic legacy of the impact members had on the Civil Rights Movement.”
The opening of the Museum is one of a host of events that will be held during the Sorority’s international convention that takes place from July 21-27. For more information, log on to www.aka908.com.