Special Programs for Anniversary of Baltimore Uprising

March 16, 2016

Media Contact
Whitney Clemmons Brown, Profiles, Inc.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum Features Special Programs
for Anniversary of Baltimore Uprising
Focus on youth voices, oral history, dialogue, and challenging conceptions

(BALTIMORE, MD) - To mark the one-year anniversary of the Baltimore uprising, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum’s spring programs and exhibitions focus on community voices in order to tell a fuller story, to include more perspectives, and to document them for posterity. Sponsored by PNC Bank, the programming aims to challenge stereotypes and promote continued healing and understanding.

“Storytelling, along with preservation, is what we do in our business as far as museums are concerned,” says Charles Bethea, Chief Curator. “We are also social change agents. In that vein, our programming aims to provide a space and place for people to analyze, cultivate, and share their personal response during this poignant time in our city’s history.”

“We wanted to ensure the voices of young people were included in our 1-year ​ ​anniversary programming as they are a critical part of our community and one of the groups most impacted by the uprising,” continues Dr. Roni Jolley, Director of Education. “We wanted to provide them a platform to share their perspective and be heard, which is something we saw missing during last year’s unrest. We offer the Museum as another outlet for them to express themselves as they continue to deal withthe personal aftermath one year later.”

Throughout the spring, the museum features the following:

Teaching the Baltimore 2015 Uprising
March 1-27
This online professional development experience for educators will explore socio-cultural conditions and political issues that led to the 2015 Baltimore uprising. Using images from the museum’s current exhibition, Devin Allen: Awakenings, In a New Light, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the events that occurred during the unrest, to teach it in their classrooms. Sponsored by Wells Fargo.

BMORE Than the Story
Saturday, April 16 - Sunday, August 28
This collaborative exhibition by students of the Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts of Baltimore, Maryland and the University of Maryland Graphic Design Cohort gives youth a chance to tell their side of their story regarding the unrest. During the protests in Baltimore in spring 2015, students lost control of how they wanted to be defined and regarded in the public eye, as media portrayed them largely in a negative light. This exhibition seeks to give back the power of the narrative to them. Each component in the exhibit is designed to showcase the experiences of students living in Baltimore before, during, and after the uprising; it also addresses the issues, such as constant police surveillance, that have plagued the city. The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Maryland Historical Commission and Wells Fargo.

All Baltimore Voices: Stories About & Beyond the Unrest
Saturday, April 23, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
All Baltimore Voices will engage communities in activities that focus on oral traditions - storytelling, oral histories and spoken word - to capture the expressions, values and beliefs before, during, and after the April 2015 unrest. Dr. Karsonya Whitehead, Associate Professor of Communication at Loyola University, leads a day-long workshop at the museum to collect stories from the public, followed by a panel discussion, and a storytelling performance.

Preceding the anniversary, Dr. Whitehead will work with students at Frederick Douglass High School to gather and document oral histories from the students’ families, friends, and community. Poet Kondwani Fidel, the 22-year Baltimorean who has been hailed as Luzerne [Avenue’s] poet laureate by Baltimore City Paper, will help the students craft their personal stories into spoken word pieces. By giving the students a medium with which to articulate what happened, and to connect their stories to longer-standing issues, they gain tools for self-expression that are authentic, open, and honest.Sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council. Free admission.

Question Bridge: Black Males
Thursday, April 28 - Friday, September 30
This innovative video installation probes the lives of black men as they ask and answer provocative questions such as, “Why am I a traitor for dating outside of my race?” “What’s your greatest fear?” The videos were collected from men living across the U.S. representing a range of geographic, generational, economic, and educational strata. From these interviews, 1,500 video exchanges were created in which the subjects serve as both interviewers and interviewees. The multiple screens play the interviews, edited to appear as if the men are having a real-time conversation. Several important themes and issues emerge, including family, love, interracial relationships, community, education, violence, and the past, present, and future of black men in American society. Artists Hank Willis Thomas and Chris Johnson organized Question Bridge in collaboration with Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair. They hope that the project will be a catalyst for constructive dialogue to deconstruct stereotypes about black male identity and help in understanding not just black men, but humanity.


About the Reginald F. Lewis Museum
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture highlights the history and accomplishments of African Americans, with a special focus on Maryland. A Smithsonian affiliate, the museum engages visitors through its permanent and special exhibitions, resource center, as well as programs such as its film series, live music series, and family programming. For more information on the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, visit www.lewismuseum.org or call 443-263-1800.