African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County

African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County was established to collect, preserve and share local community history.
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The goal of the AACHM is to open and operate a museum at 1528 Pontiac Trail in Ann Arbor MI. The African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County (AACHM) was established by 23 founding members in 1993 to document, collect, preserve and share African American History in this community. From the beginning, we have collaborated with other museums, libraries, organizations and universities to present educational programs and exhibits. We offer well-attended cultural arts events and provide a nationally recognized Underground Railroad guided bus tour of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Pittsfield Township.

Phyllis Wheatley Waters was a native of West Virginia, and lived most of her life in Indiana. She graduated from Ann Arb...
12/27/2019

Phyllis Wheatley Waters was a native of West Virginia, and lived most of her life in Indiana. She graduated from Ann Arbor (Michigan) High School in 1913, continuing on to receive a BA in French from the University of Michigan in 1917.She’s recorded as the only African American female basketball player while a student at Michigan and believed to be the first African-American woman to earn a Women's Athletic Association "letter." She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc and the Sorority's crest was designed by Waters in 1920.

She also became the first African American female Board Member of the Indianapolis Teachers Association; First African American Vice President of the Indiana State Teachers Association; First African American woman member of the Senate Avenue Branch of the YMCA.

1917 University of Michigan Literary Class Basketball Team. Phyllis Wheatly Waters is believed to be the first African-A...
12/27/2019

1917 University of Michigan Literary Class Basketball Team. Phyllis Wheatly Waters is believed to be the first African-American woman to earn a Women's Athletic Association "letter." (Bentley Historical Library). She was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc and designed the Sorority's crest in 1920.

L-R: Alice Fish, Dorothy Hanchette, Margaret Bassett, captain Olga Schenkman, Phyllis Wheatly Waters, Janet McFarlane, Alice Vanselow, Athel Vail, Jenette Armstrong

Frank Bostic served from 1942-1945 as a demolition expert in World War II with the 92nd Infantry Division, one of only t...
12/05/2019

Frank Bostic served from 1942-1945 as a demolition expert in World War II with the 92nd Infantry Division, one of only two all-black divisions to fight in the United States Army in World War I and World War II. Before leaving for France in 1918, it received the name “Buffalo Soldier Division” as a tribute to the four Buffalo soldier regiments that fought in the regular U.S. Army in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Col. Reginald C. Miller, commandant of the Army units here, presents the Bronze Star medal to George R. Cromwell, with h...
12/04/2019

Col. Reginald C. Miller, commandant of the Army units here, presents the Bronze Star medal to George R. Cromwell, with his wife Zettie, on January 5, 1946. Sgt. Cromwell was awarded two bronze stars, the Purple Heart and European, North African and Middle East Service medals following service in those theaters of action during World War II.He was credited with saving all but two of 40 U. S. soldiers trapped by a superior force in Italy during that war by exposing himself to the enemy and leading an attack on the opposing force's flanks.

George Cromwell was born on July 8, 1914, in Ann Arbor, a son of Charles and Ethel Turner Cromwell. He was a member of the Second Baptist Church, the Kenneth Fox Post Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Elks Pratt Lodge. (oldnews.aadl.org-digitized by the Ann Arbor District Library)

Someone wondered what happened to the 17 men in our banner image. The first man on the left was Kenneth Fox.
12/04/2019

Someone wondered what happened to the 17 men in our banner image. The first man on the left was Kenneth Fox.

Ann Arbor News, Dec 7, 1942: "Seventeen Negro men left Ann Arbor by train this morning for Fort Custer to begin Army tra...
12/03/2019

Ann Arbor News, Dec 7, 1942: "Seventeen Negro men left Ann Arbor by train this morning for Fort Custer to begin Army training. A farewell party was given for them Friday night at Dunbar Civic Center. With the group in the above photograph is Rev. C. W. Carpenter, pastor of the Second Baptist church. The men (from left to right) are: Kenneth Fox, Adoulphus P. Thompson, George Cromwell, Furman Wright, Leon F. Whitehead, Arthur F. Jones, Rev. Mr. Carpenter, Sherman Baker, Vernon B. Adams, Earl E. Jackson, Samuel Thomas, Sidney Henry Rinke, Robert M. Scott, Howard Lee Miller, Clinton Brantley, Frank Edward Bostic, Richard Anderson. The 17th inductee, William F. Hawkins, was not present when the picture was taken." Digitized by the Ann Arbor District Library.

Barbara Meadows with a book from her collection. March 1996 (oldnews.aadl.org)
11/15/2019

Barbara Meadows with a book from her collection. March 1996 (oldnews.aadl.org)

The French Dukes marching in the University of Michigan Homecoming Parade, November 1969 (oldnews.aadl.org)
11/01/2019

The French Dukes marching in the University of Michigan Homecoming Parade, November 1969 (oldnews.aadl.org)

South Adams Street circa 1900
10/30/2019

South Adams Street circa 1900

Manchester Roper was a determined man. He was among those, including Roland Bolland and NAACP leader Alfred Anderson, who kept bringing the management of the Forum Theater (also known as the Wuerth Theater...across from the Michigan Ave. Library) to court over their segregated seating policy in 1914-19. Each time he would lose in court, he would announce another attempt. Only when the theater was sold, becoming the Wuerth Theater later, did the policy and lawsuits stop. Manchester was born in Buxton, Ontario in 1857 and lived on South Adams working as a brick mason, coachman, and janitor among other things. He passed away in 1926.

South Adams Street circa 1900
10/30/2019

South Adams Street circa 1900

The Bow family has been in Ypsilanti for over 140 years and has an interesting history. Egbert Bow (pictured, 1848-1940) was born into the large family of Christopher Egbert Bow and Lydia Huston in Brunswick, Maine. For decades free blacks were prominent as sailors on the whaling ships of the Northeast; Brunswick was one of those ports. It was also home to many leading abolitionists, like ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Egbert’s grandfather, Francis Huston, was said to have served on ships during the Revolutionary War. Some of Egbert’s ancestors were free well before the Revolutionary War, and some may never have been held in bondage.

Along with whaling, Egbert’s father owned a small farm in Brunswick. Egbert was born around 1850, after his father returned from California, where he had gone in the Gold Rush of 1848. Egbert’s father sold the farm in Maine shortly after he was born, and like so many free black people in the 1850s, moved his family to Canada. There they settled near Chatham.

Egbert married Sophie Richardson (whose family was originally from North Carolina) and moved to Missouri after the Civil War. Most of the rest of the Bow family moved to Ypsilanti at this time, including Egbert's parents who died here.

After farming for almost twenty years in Missouri, Egbert returned east after the death of his wife and joined the rest of the Bows in Ypsilanti. Here, he remarried and worked with his older brother, Solomon, in the construction and house moving business. They lived on South Washington. Egbert lived to be nearly one hundred years old.

This photo was taken in Ypsilanti around 1900. Dozens of descendants of the Bow families still live in the Ypsilanti area.

See anyone you know in this photo? Mack School Halloween Parade, October 1971 (oldnews.aadl.org)
10/24/2019

See anyone you know in this photo? Mack School Halloween Parade, October 1971 (oldnews.aadl.org)

The Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale is presenting a Harvest Concert on Sunday, October 27, 2019, at Church of the...
10/19/2019

The Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale is presenting a Harvest Concert on Sunday, October 27, 2019, at Church of the Good Shepherd, 2145 Independence Blvd., Ann Arbor. The concert begins at 4:00 p.m. and is open to the public. After over 45 years as director of the chorale, Dr. Patterson retired and passed the baton to Darnell Ishmel. This is the first concert under the direction of Darnell Ishmel, who will continue the legacy of Dr. Patterson and the Chorale.
The concert is free and open to the public, and an offering will be taken during intermission. We appreciate past support and hope all will be able to join us for this Harvest Concert. For further information please contact Janet Haynes via email at [email protected].

2019 Michigan Underground Railroad Heritage Gathering
10/17/2019
2019 Michigan Underground Railroad Heritage Gathering

2019 Michigan Underground Railroad Heritage Gathering

The Michigan Freedom Trail Commission and the Michigan History Center announce the second annual gathering for individuals, organizations and communities interested in our statewide Underground Railroad heritage. Building off last October's gathering that aimed to create a regional collaboration eff...

AACHM Living Oral History Digital Collection | Ann Arbor District Library
10/06/2019
AACHM Living Oral History Digital Collection | Ann Arbor District Library

AACHM Living Oral History Digital Collection | Ann Arbor District Library

Welcome to the Living Oral History Digital Collection, presented in partnership between the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County and the Ann Arbor District Library. The Digital Collection, an extension of the Living Oral History Project Exhibit, includes historical mater...

Penny Stamps Speaker Series Special Event: ​Meleko Mokgosi, Pan-African Pulp | University of Michigan Museum of Art
09/20/2019
Penny Stamps Speaker Series Special Event: ​Meleko Mokgosi, Pan-African Pulp | University of Michigan Museum of Art

Penny Stamps Speaker Series Special Event: ​Meleko Mokgosi, Pan-African Pulp | University of Michigan Museum of Art

For his UMMA commission, Botswana-born artist Meleko Mokgosi explores the history of Pan-Africanism, the global movement to unite ethnic groups of sub-Saharan African descent. Entitled Pan-African Pulp, the exhibition features large-scale panels inspired by African photo novels of the 1960s and ’7...

Ypsilanti Michigan cabinet card photo taken in the late 1800s of a young African American man, probably a student, by ph...
09/12/2019

Ypsilanti Michigan cabinet card photo taken in the late 1800s of a young African American man, probably a student, by photographer Charles Cooper. Cooper advertised in 1892 as the “... Leading PHOTOGRAPHER, Parlors over Post Office, YPSILANTI.” He advertised several years later in a 1903 college yearbook: “... COOPER, The Students’ Photographer, Will be pleased to have you call and inspect his artistic work. Gallery over the post office.” Many of his patrons were young adults who probably were students at the State Normal School in Ypsilanti. Charles was succeeded in 1911 by his wife, Mrs. Matilda Cooper.

Real photo postcard from 1911 of 220 Sunset Road in Ann Arbor. It is now The James L. Crawford Elks Lodge, home of the I...
09/12/2019

Real photo postcard from 1911 of 220 Sunset Road in Ann Arbor. It is now The James L. Crawford Elks Lodge, home of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks of the World Lodge no. 322 and its sister organization the Daughters of the Elks - Daisy Chain Temple no. 212. The Ann Arbor chapter of the IBPOEW was founded in 1937, originally located on North Fourth Avenue downtown. It has been located on Sunset Road, overlooking North Main Street and the Argo Dam, for over half a century. The building was once the residence of the Tessmer family, owned by Paul G. Tessmer who built the U. of M. Boat House in 1898 on Argo Pond.

The history of the IBPOEW began in the 1890’s, when two African American pullman porters on the railroad in Cincinnati came across some ritual books for The Benevolent Protective Order of Elks (BPOE). The two pullman porters, Arthur James Riggs and Benjamin Franklin Howard, decided to establish their own distinct Elks organization for African American men in 1898 and thus named it the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks of the World (IBPOEW), often known as the Black Elks.

09/02/2019
Black Journal; 30

The role of the Black artist in conveying a message relevant to the lives of Black people is discussed by Jon Lockard, painter, philosopher and teacher. In his studio, a converted railway station in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Lockard paints on the theme of Black cultural pride. The story shows Lockard in his studio with students who attend his classes in Black art at the University of Michigan and Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor. From its initial broadcast on June 12, 1968 through November 7, 1972, Black Journal was produced under the National Educational Television name. Episode #30 was filmed in June of 1971.

The role of the Black artist in conveying a message relevant to the lives of Black people is discussed by Jon Lockard, painter, philosopher and teacher. In his studio, a converted railway station in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Lockard paints on the theme of Black cultural pride. In one of his paintings, ti...

This rare photograph of 19th century abolitionist and Underground Railroad leader, Harriet Tubman was in an album that w...
09/01/2019

This rare photograph of 19th century abolitionist and Underground Railroad leader, Harriet Tubman was in an album that was recently sold at a New York City auction for $161,000 — far exceeding presale estimates.Most existing photographs of Tubman were taken later in her life, but in the recently revealed image she was in her late 40s at the time.

A summary from Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) says the “photograph shows Harriet Tubman (1820?-1913) seated in an interior room, turned to the left. One hand rests on the back of a wooden chair, another rests in her lap. A patterned carpet covers the floor and the wall or drop behind her is a blank light color. Tubman wears a dark bodice that buttons at the center front and has dropped sleeves with heavy ruching and ruffled details on the sleeves. There is a panel of lighter fabric around the yoke, with the upper neck the same dark color as the body of the bodice. A lace collar with short tails is crossed and pinned at the front of her neck. Her hair is parted at the center and gathered at the nape of her neck. Tubman’s full skirt is made from a light and dark patterned gingham check.”

The Maryland-born Tubman, self-liberated from slavery, and helped hundreds of enslaved African Americans escape the South by guiding them north on the Underground Railroad. She served as a spy during the Civil War. Afterward, she settled in Auburn, N.Y. where she died and was buried in 1913. The album, belonged to Emily Howland, a Quaker educator and abolitionist who taught African-Americans during the Civil War era. It also includes portraits of contemporary abolitionists and politicians, including John Willis Menard, the first African-American elected to Congress.
(bobbi booker, [email protected])

Something new... a pop-up family friendly event this coming Saturday, August 24. Come see, smell, hear, taste and feel t...
08/21/2019
Yodit's Liberate(ion) Event for US!

Something new... a pop-up family friendly event this coming Saturday, August 24. Come see, smell, hear, taste and feel the splendor of the Diaspora all around you.

Please join Yodit Mesfin Johnson for an end of summer celebration of Blackness, Brownness, and the splendor and beauty of our people!

The History Of Ypsilanti's First Ward All-Black School
08/18/2019
The History Of Ypsilanti's First Ward All-Black School

The History Of Ypsilanti's First Ward All-Black School

Did you know that Ypsilanti’s New Jerusalem Baptist Church was originally built as a school for African-American students? The First Ward School closed in

120 years ago... African-American citizens of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti celebrate Emancipation Day. Ann Arbor Argus, Augus...
08/06/2019

120 years ago... African-American citizens of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti celebrate Emancipation Day. Ann Arbor Argus, August 6, 1897 (oldnews.aadl.org)

Ypsilanti Michigan Cabinet Card, late 1800s. Photographer Charles Charles  advertised  in  1892  as  the  “...  Leading ...
07/28/2019

Ypsilanti Michigan Cabinet Card, late 1800s. Photographer Charles Charles advertised in 1892 as the “... Leading PHOTOGRAPHER, Parlors over Post Office, YPSILANTI.” He advertised several years later in a 1903 college yearbook: “... COOPER, The Students’ Photographer, Will be pleased to have you call and inspect his artistic work. Gallery over the post office.” Many of his patrons were young adults who probably were students at the State Normal School (now Eastern Michigan University) in Ypsilanti.

1800's cabinet card photo of an African-American woman posed in a studio leaning on a chair and holding a letter in her ...
07/28/2019

1800's cabinet card photo of an African-American woman posed in a studio leaning on a chair and holding a letter in her hand.The photo was found in an attic. The photographer is noted on the bottom of the front as "Waterman, Ypsilanti, Mich." According to David Tinder's Directory of Early Michigan photographers, George Eddy Waterman was a photographer in Ypsilanti (and Saline) from 1888 until 1910.

Ann Arbor Celebrates Emancipation Day. Ann Arbor Argus, July 24, 1896 (oldnews.aadl.org)
07/24/2019

Ann Arbor Celebrates Emancipation Day. Ann Arbor Argus, July 24, 1896 (oldnews.aadl.org)

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE - President Barak Obama holds Arianna Holmes, 3, before taking a departure photo with members of he...
07/16/2019

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE - President Barak Obama holds Arianna Holmes, 3, before taking a departure photo with members of her family in the Oval Office in Feb. 2012. Photo: Lawrence Jackson—The White House.

Barack Obama was the 44th president of the United States and the first African-American commander-in-chief. He served two terms, in 2008 and 2012. The son of parents from Kenya and Kansas, Obama was born and raised in Hawaii. He graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review. After serving on the Illinois State Senate, he was elected a U.S. senator representing Illinois in 2004. He and wife Michelle Obama have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

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PO Box 130724
Ann Arbor, MI
48113

AATA

General information

Founders: Letitia Byrd , Bamidele Demerson, Gloria M. Edwards, Willie M. Edwards*, Cheryl Ervin, Martha Graham, JoAnne Hall, Joyce M. Hunter, Earl W. Jackson, Zerilda Palmer, Linell Ransom, Beverly Tyler, Shirley A. Vaughn, Sheryl L. White, Lola M. Jones, Njoki Kamuyu, Patricia King, Vivian Lyte, Dorothy A. Mack*, Shawn R. Martin*, Shirley D. Martin, Franci Moorman, Beverly Myers

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