Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Traveling Exhibition Honoring African American Women opens in Cincinnati During National Women’s History Month
Exhibition Utilizes Interactive Technology to Tell the Story of Twenty Extraordinary Women
Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), Cincinnati Museum Center and Ford Motor Company Fund Collaborate to Present Historical Exhibition
It would be difficult to imagine the course of American history without them: Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad; Rosa Parks and her brave refusal in 1955 to relinquish her seat on a Montgomery city bus; Fannie Lou Hamer and her courageous stand at a 1968 political convention. These stories of courage and commitment are among the many featured in the “Freedom’s Sisters” exhibition, a collaboration between the Cincinnati Museum Center, Ford Motor Company Fund and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The interactive exhibition showcases 20 extraordinary African American women and opens its three-year national tour at the Cincinnati Museum Center March 15. It remains there until Sept. 14, and then travels to eight additional cities, including Memphis, Tenn., Birmingham, Ala., Dallas and Detroit. A variety of engaging, educational and community outreach components will facilitate the involvement of local audiences.

“From Mary McCleod Bethune to Dorothy Height, the stories in ‘Freedom’s Sisters’ will surely inspire and motivate all Americans, especially younger visitors,” said Jim Vella, Ford Motor Company Fund President. “We are deeply proud to be a part of this important, educational and uplifting exhibition that honors these individuals and the causes that they served.”

“The inspiring stories of these women should be told and told again,” said Cincinnati Museum Center president and CEO Douglass W. McDonald. “Cincinnati Museum Center is honored to create this extraordinary exhibit and can only hope that we can provide an extension to the legacies of these strong, courageous and trailblazing women.”

“These 20 women left not a footnote but a footprint on American history,” said SITES Director Anna R. Cohn. “Many of their stories may not be well known, but their roles and contributions were monumental in shaping our country and its conscience.”

The exhibition has been embraced by a prestigious National Committee of Honor. Members of the Freedom's Sisters Committee of Honor include Quincy Jones, Mae Jemison, General Colin Powell, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Cathy Hughes, Sheila Johnson, Elizabeth Eckford, Johnetta Cole and a wide range of national dignitaries, reflecting the exhibitions broad appeal.

Organized around four themes – “Dare to Dream,” “Inspire Lives” “Serve the Public” and “Look to the Future” – “Freedom’s Sisters” is designed especially as an educational tool targeting students. Historical simulations and interactive displays are being set up to drive home messages and meanings central to each woman’s life.

Freedom's Sisters

Ella J. Baker

Barbara Jordan

Constance Baker Motley

Mary McLeod Bethune

Shirley Chisholm

Rosa Parks

Mary Church Terrell

Sonia Sanchez

Septima Poinsette Clark

Coretta Scott King

Kathleen Cleaver

Betty Shabazz

Myrlie Evers-Williams

Harriet Tubman

Fannie Lou Hamer

C. Delores Tucker

Dorothy Height

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Ida B. Wells

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services is committed to creating opportunities that promote corporate citizenship, philanthropy, volunteerism and cultural diversity for those who live in the communities where Ford does business. Established in 1949 and made possible by Ford Motor Company profits, Ford Motor Company Fund supports initiatives and institutions that foster innovative education, auto-

related safety and American heritage and legacy. National programs include Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, which provides high school students with academically rigorous 21st-century learning experiences, and

Driving Skills for Life, a teen-focused auto safety initiative. The Ford Volunteer Corps, established in 2005, continues Ford's legacy of caring worldwide. Through the Volunteer Corps, salaried employees, union members, retirees and their families participate in a wide range of volunteer projects in their communities. For more information on programs made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, visit

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is home to the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater and the Cincinnati Historical Society Library. It is a nationally recognized educational and research resource and one of the top cultural attractions in the Midwest. Cincinnati Museum Center serves more than one million visitors annually, reaching out to almost 200,000 young people through hands-on exhibits and programs. As a center for the community, more than 700 events are held in the building each year. Originally built in 1933 as the Union Terminal train station, the building is a national historic landmark and was renovated and reopened as Cincinnati Museum Center in 1990. For information, call (513) 287-7000 or (800)733-2077 or visit

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at

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