Week Seven: “And Still We Rise” – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week Seven: “And Still We Rise”

Last week was my first time visiting the Charles H. Wright Museum and their “And Still We Rise” exhibit. Initially, coming into the museum, I had an idea of the themes that may be covered. However, I was surprised by the detail of the entire exhibit, particularly the mannequins, which were very surreal, especially in the slave ship portion of our journey. The most emotional section of my time there, surprisingly to me, was at the very beginning when the exhibit went through traditional African culture and history. The display of a historic African market made me heavily reflect and somewhat mourn what my life and the life of my community could have been if we never experienced colonialism and the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. We are often desensitized to violence committed against the black population, both in the way we explore African American history and current racial issues. Therefore, I was able to prepare myself mentally to digest depictions of slavery, yet seeing the simplistic and vibrant origins of my community caused me to reflect on our past from a more open and peaceful perspective. I really appreciated its thoughtful look at the entirety of what was lost, not only our physical freedom but also the connection with ourselves, our community, and our ancestral culture.

4 thoughts on “Week Seven: “And Still We Rise””

  1. Owen McAlister-Lopez

    Hey Ariel! I also agree with you- I think the exhibit does a good job of portraying more than just the stories we read in history books or general knowledge we all have. We get to see different points in history (like what culture was like in African communities before slavery) and that helps to contextualize everything we already know. I also thought the life-size mannequins and set-ups were good at immersing us into the scene. I’ve come to this museum (and this exhibit) on field trips several times starting in elementary school, and it has never really become less impactful.

  2. Hi Ariel, thank you for your reflection, and the “And Still We Rise” exhibit has definitely been one of the exhibits I’ve seen this entire summer that has led me to come away reflecting and learning the most. The roughly chronological order of the exhibit, along with the detailed image-voice, sometimes interactive, & life-size mannequins, all were particularly striking.

  3. I appreciate your insights about “And Still We Rise”, Ariel. It was also my first time visiting the Charles H Wright Museum of African American History, and likewise It impressed and surprised me how thorough the exhibit was. I only wish we had been able to arrange it so we could have had more time to see the entire exhibit and for all of us to have had a debrief with each other. I think that a lot of important things we each individually noticed and felt would have been even more impactful to share and to hear from others. Although the amount of time we had was less than ideal, I’m hopeful that each one of our group benefitted from the experience and that it helped fuel everyone’s commitment to achieve liberation, understanding and justice for all.

  4. Hi Ariel, I completely agree with you! I think the way that the museum immersed us into the history, really is what makes you experience and understand how it has all connected to create the present as well.

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