December 21, 2019 - March 15, 2020

This new Smithsonian traveling exhibition opens at the Washington State History Museum on December 21, 2019. Visitors will be immersed in the narrative of our nation through the stories of revolutionary, iconic African American men. 
Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth. presents the history of more than two dozen known and unknown  leaders, past and present, illuminating their change-making contributions through bold, contemporary visual art, fresh literary excerpts, and vibrant stories. The exhibition highlights men such as Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, W.E.B. Du Bois, Kendrick Lamar and more, whose journeys altered the history and culture of our country through politics, sports, science, entertainment, business, religion and more. The exhibition weaves a collective tapestry of what it is to be an African American man and the shared experience of African American men across generations.
Original artwork by noted artists accentuate each individual’s legacy. Participating artists include Nina Chanel Abney, Derrick Adams, Robert Pruitt, Hank Willis Thomas, Tariku Shiferaw, Devan Shimoyama and others.
“Many of these men’s contributions have often not been explored in the history books, as other narratives have been favored. For me, the most compelling aspect of this exhibition is the way that it shifts and sheds light on these lesser known narratives in a way that brings them to the forefront where they belong,” said Mary Mikel Stump, the Historical Society’s audience engagement director.
Washington State History Museum will be the only museum in the Pacific Northwest to feature this historical exhibition. Find out more about Men of Change here.
“We hope that by experiencing ‘Men of Change’ visitors will see a lesson for us all, regardless of gender, race or nationality,” said Myriam Springuel, director of SITES and Smithsonian Affiliations. “In these men we see an absolute ideal and a well of inspiration that encourages us to become our best selves.”
Created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), Men of Change is made possible through the support of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. Local exhibition support is provided by Alaska Airlines and The Norcliffe Foundation. 

A diverse group of artists, advisors, academics, curators and museum professionals determined the men chosen as “Men of Change.” From Carter G. Woodson to Ryan Coogler, these men have changed entire fields, fought for justice, revolutionized art and touched millions of lives directly and indirectly. These men serve as metaphor, representing the many more men and the broader community that shaped them into important change agents. Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth. also incorporates the names and language of others—men and women—that signify the power of the African American journey in the American story.  

Associated Programs:

Men of Courage-Tacoma: Along with this exhibition, the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services is investing in the Tacoma community with the Men of Courage initiative. The most visible component of this initiative is the Men of Courage Barbershop Challenge. Barbershops are encouraged to apply by 5:00 PM, November 22, and share their ideas for uplifting their community. Application assistance is available through Tacoma Urban League. The Men of Courage initiative also includes a free leadership training seminar for men in Pierce County, to take place at the History Museum on January 17.

Martin Luther King, Jr. day: Free admission for all on Monday, January 20, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. See performances from Tacoma Arts Live. More details to come!

Local Men of Change Awards: February 29, 2020, 6:30-8:00 PM, doors at 6:00 PM. Washington State Historical Society and the Tacoma Urban League are proud to announce an awards program celebrating local men of change. Ticketing link will be posted soon.

Check back for additional programming.

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