As our hard-working CAAM family proudly steps onto the path of the last quarter of
2013, we celebrate having seven exciting exhibitions on display for your simultaneous
viewing pleasure. Yes, we have seized opportunities and made miracles out of thin air!
Then there is the joy we had sharing our summer days with a most dynamic group of high
school students training in our Young Docents program. Hailing from every background
and ethnicity, this was one of the finest classes of students we have ever had and not even a reduction in funding could bring this important year-round program to its knees. Our
Young Docents, those who will continue with us throughout the year and those who have
gone on to college, each made us proud. They evidenced for our guests that our efforts to
mentor the next generation is as valuable to our mission as the art we collect.
We are also proud to toast another generation of four outstanding individuals who have
each made invaluable contributions to business, art and education. Their efforts have lifted our nation, our communities and our culture. Join us at our October 12th Artful Evening at CAAM gala to celebrate treasured honorees Leon T. Garr, Phoebe Beasley, Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder. Your gala contributions will be used to support our Young Docents and all of our “Mentoring Generations” programs, and ensure your partnership in paving the way for one generation to be lifted by the next.
As we link generations of African American success, I am reminded of Phoebe Beasley’s artwork entitled Emancipation #2. This painting, which will come into our collection later this year, depicts the gathering of the formerly enslaved finding a road toward freedom, and lifting each other up along the way.
In 2013, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation converged. This unique moment in time has caused me to question the concept of “emancipation” in all its varied manifestations. For African Americans, exposing the known and unknown historical truths behind the Emancipation Proclamation is a quest not yet complete. On one hand, we can humanize and celebrate through an exhibition of photographic portraits the unnamed African American soldiers who served in the Civil War and fought for freedom. But, celebrating the signing and implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation is awkward; going too far gives power to an intentional act of oppression that shackled our bodies.
The true miracle was that it never chained our spirits, and that we continue to march toward a “freedom” that others
never had a right to take away. On the occasion of this convergence of generational experiences and remembrances, we should make new miracles, and find a deeper meaning for the concept of being emancipated. I urge us all to exercise our freedom of choice in a manner that serves your individual growth, benefits our larger community, and allows us to lift up someone else along the way.
Help CAAM remain free and open to the public, and we will forever be your place to tell your stories and bear witness to your miracles.