Walking across the echoing floor of the Charles H. Wright Museum one is hit with images of art and light. I am wondering where to start. I was greeted at the top of the stairs by a volunteer and given three directions. The one in front of me she explained was their most lengthy exhibit "And Still We Rise". After deciding to travel straight instead of venturing off sideways I decide to start with the suggested exhibit. Walking in on a narrated video filled with past and present leaders of the African American community. The decision was good. The exhibit isn't new, but with time some things are forgotten.
It starts at the beginning, Africa. It highlights how the enriched land full of minerals and other natural resources was destined to be the beginning. A narrated video clip with an explanation of research done by scientist, they find one common DNA trait in everyone. This trait led to one woman who lived 150,000 years ago in East Africa, Eve. She is considered the mother of all. She wasn't the only woman living at the time. Her genes however were the strongest and most successful.
The exhibit continues on displaying century old artifacts from rarely heard of Jenne-Jeno to the constantly discussed Egypt "The Nubian Kingdom of Kush". Showing and explaining the purpose and material the objects are made of. Continuing on one will come across lifestyle scenes of housing and games played by African children.
The above of course leads up to what is considered the most shameful part of our countries history, Slavery. This portion highlights the trading and bartering system used by heads of family groups in Africa with Slave Ship Captains. Walking through the mock holding fortress going through the door of no return to board a mock Slave Ship there is a feeling of leaving something behind. The most dramatic portion would be the "Belly of the Ship". Here one is faced with sounds of inhumanity and disgust of how Africans were chained and transported like cattle to America and European countries.
The exhibit continues on showing those who make the voyage how they are sold into Slavery, also depicting the lifestyle of a Slave. Leading up to the Civil War, life after Slavery, fighting for civil rights, and how African Americans helped build the country. This exhibit is wonderful and telling. It is not meant for one particular group of people. It is meant for all. Charles H. Wright Museum does a wonderful job of recording and displaying this part of our past so that we don't forget. For more information on Charles H. Wright African American Museum visit www.maah-detroit.org.