A Night at HMAAC Featuring the Kinsey Collection

The Houston Museum of African-American Culture were recently hosts to the Kinsey Collection, an exhibit that celebrates the achievements of African-American’s throughout the race’s entire history, and is product of the research from Bernard and Shirley Kinsey. The amazing exhibit features many documents, pictures, and artifacts that tell the complete story of Blacks and the African-Americans across the world. This exhibit teaches so much about our heritage and I left the exhibit enlightened and more knowledgeable about the contributions my people have made in this world. On display, there were the earliest baptismal records and marriage licenses, proof of Africans on exploration conquests with the French, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch and also a large collection of drawings and paintings from well-known Black artists such as John Biggers.

On the night I chose to go and see the exhibit, the Kinsey’s were just so happening to be honored by the president of their alma mater Florida A&M University, and I had the opportunity to meet the couple and thank them for their efforts in assuring the history of African-Americans is remembered forever. You can find much more information about the Kinsey family and their vast collection of African American history here on their website. Houston was the last stop in this traveling exhibit, but the Kinsey’s may look into circulating the exhibit once more in 2015. Currently, HMAAC is featuring the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series which is an exhibition of emerging Houston artists showcasing their pieces and was put together by brothers Danny and Russell Simmons. The exhibit will call HMAAC home through December 14th. Take a look at a few pieces from the Kinsey Collection below.

The Kinsey's

Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Kinsey

SenandRep

Drawing of The First Colored Senator and Representatives in the 41st Congress of the United States

12yrsslave

One of the first published copies of Solomon Northrup’s story as a free man who was taken into slavery. The memoir has now been made into a popular movie by the same name.

TheBoss

A quilt made using early 20th century icons of Americana such as Aunt Jemima that used black bodies in advertising, commodifying Black imagery and labor. The piece is called ’The Boss’ and was created by Bisa Butler.

Kinseys

Mr. and Mrs. Kinsey autographing purchased copies of their books.

momandkinsey

My mommy and Mrs. Kinsey

That same night, the museum played a historic film, The Strange Demise of Jim Crow, that shared the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Houston, Texas. The movie gives first hand accounts from a few of the Houston leaders who made major moves in getting equal rights for African-Americans in the city. Before, I had never heard any stories of the struggle for Blacks in Houston for their equality, but this film told it all. The CEO of the museum even invited the star of the documentary and leader of Houston’s movement to watch the film and I was honored and humbled to have met the man who made everything possible, Mr. Eldrewey Stearns. This man has a wonderful sense of humor, even for his age, but still holds dear to his heart the same rights that he fought for well over 40 years ago. I highly suggest this film to watched by EVERYONE who has ever shopped at grocery store, visited City Hall, attended a game in the Astrodome, attended TSU or ever lived in the city of Houston. We are allowed many of the things we take for granted today in this city due to this man’s efforts.

Eldrewey Stearns

Mr. Eldrewey Stearns and my mommy.

The next featured film will be Stormy Weather and will be shown on November 20th. Stormy Weather is the classic film with one of the first all-black casts that tells the story of an entertainer’s life in show business and his relationship with a young singer. Visit the HMAAC website for more information and directions to the museum. Know your history, know yourself.

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