Queens of the Heartland
National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center 1350 Brush Row Road, Wilberforce, OH, USA Open in Google Map
Adults - $6 Seniors, AAA, Military - $5 Children 6-17 years - $3 Children under age 5, Free/Ohio History Connection & NAAMCC members - Free

Exhibit • Queens of the Heartland

National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center, Wilberforce

One of Ohio’s greatest legacies is a story rarely told. Since the 1800s, Ohio was at the heart of social change led by African American women. Not only was it was the first free state established from the Northwest Territory, but it was also home to some of the earliest universities for African Americans and women. Ohio drew Black women from across the country who found there wasn’t space for them in their chosen professions, in education, or society at large, and so they built them here.

Queens of the Heartland features 30 of these pioneering women in a new exhibition curated by the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center. Visitors will learn these amazing stories through panel text as well as three-dimensional objects.  Ohio-born Lucy Stanton Day Sessions was the first Black woman to complete a four-year course at an American college in 1850. She paved the way for Mary Jane Patterson, who in 1862 became the first to earn an official Bachelor’s degree when she also graduated from Oberlin.  Many of the most prominent and influential suffragists, such as Anna J. Cooper and Mary Church Terrell, were classmates in Ohio where they laid the groundwork that would ultimately result in the 19th amendment.

This exhibit also features portrait illustration by New York artist Nichole Washington, whose work focuses on identity and celebrates the African American woman. In a recent interview with Refinery29, where her art is frequently shown, she offered a motto that would certainly resonate with any of the 30 women in the exhibit: “Create from the inside out. Honor who you are on the inside and allow yourself to share that with the world.” Washington’s contribution brings a new perspective to modernize these indelible legacies, inspiring the next generation of young women and girls to carry the torch.

Queens of the Heartland is on exhibit now. For more information, call 800.752.2603 ext. 0

Partial support for this exhibit is from:
Ohio Arts Council

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