Signature Events

Virtual Options Available

Glimpses from "And Still We Rise"

Thursdays throughout the year at 12:00pm and 4:00pm (virtual)

Join The Wright in virtual presentations and discussions throughout the year as we share parts of our well-known core exhibit, And Still We Rise. We will feature objects and topics on display in the core exhibit.

September 21st:  First in Class: the Education and Activism of Charlotte Forten Grimke

Born free in 1831, Charlotte Forten Grimké was raised in a privileged life, but longed to see freedom and education for all those who looked like her, especially black women. Come with the Wright Museum and we travel through her life, learning, and activism.


September 7th:  Foot Soldiers: Kinchen Artis and the 102nd Colored Infantry

Born a free man in 1831, Kichen Artis, Jr holds a unique distinction of being one of very few African American soldiers to attain the officer rank of Corporal during the Civil War. Join the Wright Museum as we journey through his life, contributions, and the formation of Michigan's first Color Regiment, the 102nd.



August 24th:  Keeping it Classy - The Educational Journey of  Frazelia Campbell

Frazelia Campbell was an American classicist, linguist and teacher. She was featured in the "12 Black Classicists" traveling exhibition celebrating the achievements of African Americans working in Classical education.


August 10th:  Making Bank - The Story of Maggie L. Walker

Maggie Walker was an American businesswoman and teacher. In 1903, Walker became both the first African American woman to charter a bank and the first African American woman to serve as a bank president. She transformed black business practices and gained national prominence as the first woman to own a bank in the United States.


July 20th:  Robert Smalls: From Slavery to Senate and a War in Between

Robert Smalls was born into slavery in Beaufort, South Carolina on April 5, 1839. His mother, Lydia Polite, was a slave owned by Henry McKee. Smalls became a Civil War hero by providing the Union Navy with intelligence after being enslaved aboard a Confederate ship; later, elected to the U.S. Congress.

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July 6th: A Few Good Men: The Story of Johnson C. Whittaker

Johnson Whittaker, was one of the first black men to win an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. A black cadet at West Point, he is attacked by three fellow students. However, the school administrators court-martial Whittaker in the mistaken belief that he staged his own attack, supposedly to avoid a philosophy exam. He was expelled after being falsely accused and convicted of faking the incident.


June 22nd: The Jazzy influence of Duke Ellington

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, generally thought to be the first African American classical scholar. Born in Washington, D.C., "Duke" Ellington rose to fame at Harlem's Cotton Club in the late 1920s. His career as a musician, composer, and bandleader spanned more than 50 years. He was an American jazz pianist, composer, and leader of his jazz orchestra from 1923 through the rest of his life. Ellington wrote or collaborated on more than one thousand compositions.


June 8th: Stranger Fruit: The Story of Billie Holiday

An American jazz singer nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend, Billie Holiday had an innovative influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, inspired by jazz instrumentalists, created a new way of phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills.

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May 18th: The Revolutionary Life of Peter Salem

Salem was a Patriot of the American Revolutionary War who participated in the first major engagement of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Salem received a commendation from the Massachusetts General Court for the bravery shown during that battle.

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May 4th: The Civil Disorder of the Kerner Report

Kerner Commission reported on the causes, events, and aftermaths of the civil disorders of 1967. A Detailed history of Blacks in American society and recommendations for improving the social conditions which foment riots


April 20th: Shaping Reality: The Story of Edmonia Lewis

Mary Edmonia Lewis was an American sculptor, of mixed African - American and Native American heritage. Born free in Upstate New York, she worked for most of her career in Rome, Italy.

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March 23rd: Lucinda "Lucy" Thurman and the Elevation of African American Women

Born free in Ontario, Canada, Lucinda "Lucy" Thurman gained international recognition for her efforts as a community organizer championing the rights of women, especially African American women, for increased opportunities in education, sanitation, nutrition, and voting rights.

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March 9th: Can You Hear Me Now: The Story of the Colored Women's League

Organized by a group of African-American women in June 1892, this women's club helped launched a revolution the led to more equality for women of color in voting and other rights.


February 23rd: We Built This: The Story of United States Colored Troops

Regiments in the United States Army, mostly composed primarily of African-American (colored) soldiers. They were first recruited during the American Civil War, and by the end of the war in 1865, there were 175 USCT regiments


February 16th: First in Class: the Story of Dr. Joseph Ferguson

Born in 1821 to free parents, Joseph Ferguson became a barber and because of the connection barbers had to basic medical practices, he sought and achieved obtaining his medical degree from the Detroit Medical College, the forerunner of Wayne State University School of Medicine.


February 9th: The Radical Appeal of David Walker

Though born to an enslaved father, because his mother was a free woman, David Walker grew up a free man. He gained an education and opened his own clothing store, but it was when he became evolved in the abolitionist movement that he was able to make a lasting impact with his pamphlet called "The Appeal."


February 2nd: Midnight Faith: The Story of Second Baptist Church

Serving as a Detroit station of the Underground Railroad, Second Baptist Church is not only the oldest religious institution owned by blacks in the Midwest, but is also the site of many historic and iconic events ranging from the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to the baptism of Ralphe Bunche.


January 19th: Mercy Mercy We: The Pioneering Practice of Drs. David and Daisy Northcross

Educated in a segregated south, but settling in Detroit in 1916, the Doctors Northcross, David and Daisy, set about creating a space that catered to all people. They opened Mercy Hospital and Training School in 1917, becoming the first African American Hospital established in Detroit.


January 5th: The Black Prophetic Tradition: The Story of Rev. Albert Cleage, Jr

Rev. Cleage, also known as Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman was born in Indianapolis in 1911, but grew up in Detroit and emerged as a leader during the devastating riots of 1967. In 1968, the Detroit Free Press poll confirmed him to be one of the most well-known and influential leaders in his community. Cleage wrote several books addressing the need for black nationalism within the Christian faith as well as establishing the Black Christian Nationalist Movement as a separate denomination. The name was later changed to the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church (PAOCC), with locations in Atlanta, GA, and Houston, TX, several cultural centers, bookstores, community service centers, and a working farm.

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December 1st: The Rebellious Call of Henry Highland Garnet

Born in the time of United States enslavement, Henry Highland Garnet sought and achieved freedom with his family at just nine years old. Never one to sit idle, Garnet became not only a prominent Presbyterian minister, abolitionist, and minister to Liberia, but one of the most prolific voices of the radicalized Anti-Slavery Movement.

November 17: The Political Legacy of John Mercer Langston

One of the most prominent African American figures of the United States before, during, and after the Civil War, John Mercer Langston, the political rival of Fredrick Douglass, not only created legacy as one of the first African Americans to hold a political office, but is also the founding Dean of Howard University.  

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November 3rd: The Power of the Press: the story of John Mitchell Jr, "the Fighting Editor"

Born near the end of North American enslavement, John Mitchell Jr rose from being the enslaved to becoming a prominent editor, politician, banker, and civil rights activist. As a key figure in the Antilynching Movement, he used his education, charisma, and passion to promote racial pride, civil rights, and equitable justice for people of color.

October 20th: John Brown and Abolitionism

A controversial historic figure, John Brown was a leader in the abolitionist movement in the pre-Civil War United States. Brown led raids to free enslaved people in areas where forced labor was still in practice.

October 6th: The Gotham Hotel in Paradise Valley

Gotham Hotel in Detroit, which is no longer standing, offered a level of elegance and glamour that was often otherwise denied to African Americans. It was one of the few luxury hotels that was available to black people. It was frequented by many well-known African American celebrities, jazz musicians and other entertainers.

September 15th: The Activism of Frances E. W. Harper

An American abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, public speaker, and writer, she fought hard for many rights and lectured across America during a time when women rarely spoke in public.

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September 1st: The Story of Nurse Susie King Taylor

Born into slavery, Susie Taylor (1848-1912) was able to obtain an education. She attended ‘secret’ schools taught by African-Americans. She used her literacy and skills as a nurse to assist African-American soldiers serving in the Union Army. She has the distinction of being the only African-American woman to publish an account of her experiences during the war.         

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