Press Release
Press Release

Commemoration of Historic Moment Focuses on Past, Present and Future

“There are so many untold, little known and inspirational stories” said Rev. Jeffrey Powell, the originator of the idea for the commemoration.

By - Jan 27th, 2019 08:36 am

MILWAUKEE, WI (January 25, 2019)—A broad range of organizations, institutions and individuals are bringing their resources, experience, and expertise together to create a year-long, city-wide commemoration of the arrival of the first Africans brought to English speaking North America. Their effort was unveiled today during a press conference at St. Mark A.M.E. Church, 1616 W. Atkinson Ave.

The commemoration has two components:

  • Events and activities that offer opportunities to explore and discover more about the contributions, impact and influence Africans/African Americans have had on this country and the world.
  • A collaborative exploration of how some of the challenges facing parts of Milwaukee’s African American community can be overcome.

“There are so many untold, little known and inspirational stories” said Rev. Jeffrey Powell, the originator of the idea for the commemoration. “My hope is that people throughout the city will take advantage of the many opportunities this year’s activities offer.”

The collaborative effort to address challenges will launch in February, and bring individuals, organizations and institutions together to develop plans and implementation steps in specific areas of concern before the end of 2019. The measure of success for those plans and steps is how effective they are at reducing or eliminating factors that make it hard for some children to achieve their full potential.

“The most important resource any community has is its people,” Rev. Powell said.

“The person who has the potential to discover the “cure” for Alzheimer’s or develop the next technology that could revolutionize the economy might be growing up in a challenged section of town right now. It’s important to ensure every child born can reach his or her full potential.”

While the initial event participants have been identified, other activities that meet the criteria may be added during the year. That criteria includes:

  • Fits within one of the broad time frames (before 1500-Emancipation, Emancipation-Present)
  • Showcases or brings insights to at least one of these topics involving Africans/African Americans:
    • Challenges experienced
    • Triumphs over adversity
    • Contributions/influence/impact of Africans/African Americans on this country and/or the world

To ensure six “must see/do” events aren’t scheduled for the same day and same time, a master calendar has been developed and will be posted and updated on the commemoration’s web page:

Event Participants

America’s Black Holocaust Museum

Wisconsin Black Historical Society Museum

Ko-Thi Dance Company

Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Public Museum

Milwaukee Public Library

Black Lens

Marquette University


Black Arts MKE

Bronzeville Arts Ensemble

Still Waters Collective

Black Inventors Gallery

New Jubilee Choir

Project Return

Milwaukee Children’s Choir

Sisters of Creativity

Portia Cobb

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