Autumn provides an opportunity for reflection amidst the unceasing changes and cycles of life. The same holds true for The Wright Museum, which can be said to have its own annual cycles of growth and renewal. Of course, this doesn't mean the museum slows down in manifesting its mission through lively exhibits and events, including the Liberation Film Series, Noel Night, or our ever-popular Kwanzaa celebrations. But given the extraordinary accomplishments of the past few months, I’d like to reflect on a concept critical to our work: Legacy.
Everyone involved in the museum, from its Board of Trustees, staff, and volunteers, to donors, members, and visitors, are a part of continuing the legacy begun by Dr. Charles Wright and his visionary partners in 1965. The 2013 Wright Gala, held September 28 at MGM Grand Detroit, was the culmination of three years of intense effort led by museum trustee Yvette Bing. Mrs. Bing, museum board chair Betty Brooks, and their committed host committee have produced a legacy event in The Wright Gala that has helped keep the museum operating.
Another example of legacy building is that of museum member Thomas K. Burke, founder of the Jackson, Michigan-based Save Our Youth Inc., who has brought groups to the museum each of the past three years. This past August, Mr. Burke, with support from the Jackson Area Civil Rights Association, brought youth from homeless shelters to tour the museum, with each child receiving a museum backpack as a souvenir of their visit. Can you imagine the impact a visit like this will have on a homeless child's life? We salute Mr. Burke and his organization for instilling a legacy of dignity and pride in children most in need.
Finally, we were pleased to hear that on May 10, 2013, Louisa Wright Griggs received her M.D. degree from the University of Illinois School of Medicine, and is proudly following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Dr. Charles H. Wright, and specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. During her last rotation in medical school, Louisa spent seven weeks in Ghana working at two medical facilities thanks to a scholarship from the National Medical Fellowship Foundation – paralleling her grandfather’s work in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia with Operations Crossroads Africa and the U.S. Department of Public Health. Dr. Wright Griggs, the daughter of William and Stephanie Wright Griggs, has started her residency at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. We wish her the very, very best in continuing the legacy of Dr. Wright’s caring and care for the community.
Legacy lives and breathes at The Wright Museum, in these stories, and those yet to be told. Speaking of which, on November 10, 2013, the museum launches The Struggle Against Slavery, a digital history website that features extensive information about the Underground Railroad, including online courses, an interactive map and timeline, interviews with historians, educational resources, and much more. Made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, this project and event will speak to the legacy of the Underground Railroad and black resistance. We hope you will join us, as well as log on to www.UGRRonline.com, November 10.
Click here to download our October 2013 Member Newsletter