Preserving Black Cultural Institutions
By Artist, Debra Hand
Presented by Omni University
Black pride and culture are being celebrated across the globe on levels never before seen. Non-Black museums are scurrying to resurrect and re-examine Black history and our art is being thrust to the forefront for a more nuanced interpretation of its meaning and context. Good for us, but... The DuSable Museum and the South Side Community Art Center have been doing this work all along.
From the very beginning, the DuSable Museum and the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) have been right there fighting for an acknowledgement of our relevance. They were there to continuously correct the untruths about our history and to confirm and assert our beauty--despite a world that would ridicule us. They were there to tell our stories and to keep our self-esteem afloat in a society that sought daily to tell us we were nothing. They were there to honor our humanity and art when non-Black institutions considered our point of view to be mediocre, unworthy, devoid of value.
The DuSable Museum and the SSCAC -- both principally founded by our great Ancestor, Dr. Margaret Burroughs -- have been there, without a doubt, for Black people. The question is: will WE be there for them?
If you knew that a membership commitment would assure the continued existence of these vital institutions which were founded specifically to tell your stories and to build dignity in you and your children -long before your culture was thought of as worthy of attention by any other American institution, what would YOU do?
If you knew that, in this critical day of social change, non-Black institutions are scrambling to try to tell your story for you from their outside-looking-in perspective, would you then seek to protect two of the few authentic institutional voices that can speak in first-person about who we are and how we came to be us?
Would you choose to help insure that Black history is reflected and narrated by two of our most trusted institutions or would you prefer to leave it to others to examine and declare who we are and what is our value as a cultural group?
In the quiet of our consciences, confronted by upheaval and cries for change, a simple question is being asked of us all: What will we do to preserve these important institutions? Unless we follow-up with actions that can result in change, shouting Black pride slogans is only symbolic. The SSCAC and the DuSable Museum need us to step forward.
Hopefully, you are willing to protect these institutions by playing a part in that change, not just for us, but for every generation that follows! Please let your voice be heard by going to:
dusablemuseum.org/membership/ and sscartcenter.org/membership.html Memberships at the DuSable Museum and the South Side Community Art Center start at $25 a year (each) for both students and senior citizens. Other membership levels for adults and families, etc. are available. Thank you for preserving our story, our beauty, and our future by supporting these essential institutions. You are invited to view "Honoring and Preserving Black Cultural Institutions" an H30 ART of Life Show, featuring: Mia Miles. SSCAC volunteer. Please share the H30 Art of Life Blog on your social media and share your observations with us. And Remember: Become a member of The DuSable Museum and The South Side Community Art Center TODAY!