CINCINNATI - Tavis Smiley, a nationally known broadcaster and author, presented the America I AM: The African American Imprint, exhibit Friday, June 18 at the Cincinnati Museum Center.
The America I AM exhibit, is a four-year, 10-city, tour that celebrates the imprint of African American contributions to the world. It features 250 rare artifacts that will most likely never be seen together again. The exhibit highlights 500 years of African American achievements and accomplishments.
The night opened with words from the president of the Cincinnati Museum Center, Doug McDonald. He explained that the tour had been to Atlanta, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. “I’m just happy something like this is finally back in Cincinnati,” he said with a smile.
As the night progressed, Frances Strickland, Ohio’s first lady, was called to the stage to introduce Tavis Smiley. She called Smiley "amazing" for his vision and for bringing it to Cincinnati. She called Smiley to the stage as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Smiley explained how phenomenal and creative this exhibit is. “This is the biggest, the baddest, and the boldest exhibit ever,” he said proudly. “There would be no America without Negro people. Extract jazz, music, peanut butter…and there would be no America. This exhibit does not just celebrate black history, but history itself,” he said to a cheering crowd.
Smiley thanked Dr. John Fleming who was the exhibit’s curator and executive producer, and Mark Lach, of Arts &Exhibitions International, who design the exhibit. He also thanked the title sponsor, Walmart, for donating $2 million.
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