TUCSON (KVOA) – More than 300 people showed up for the grand opening of the African American History Museum. It’s the first of its kind in the state of Arizona.
The museum on the University of Arizona’s campus highlights the accomplishments and history of black people in southern Arizona.
Advisory board member for the African American Museum Delano Price said “I graduated from the U of A. I could never have imagined, something like this in my lifetime, especially on the University of Arizona campus, to have African American history where you can reach out and touch it”.
The vision for the museum came in part from a 7-year-old who is the grandson of co-founders Bob and Beverly Elliott.
Co-founder of the African American Museum Bob Elliott said “It took a lot of work and there has been a lot of support from the community. To be honest with you, Beverly and I weren’t sure if two people would show up or 200. They told us that more than 200 people showed up”.
The museum has multiple exhibits such as a coded quilt that slaves used to find safehouses along the underground railroad. It also features Buffalo Soldier paintings and educates people about the Crown Act and more.
There were crowns for people to wear to educate attendees about the crown act. It prohibits discrimination based on a person’s hair texture and style. Right now, the museum is working to get that act passed in Arizona.
Attendee Benjamin Harris said “I’m wearing the crown because I know my hair is special the way it is. No one can judge my hair because I’m special and my hair is special”.
Martin Luther King Day is January 16th and Arizona was the last state to recognize Dr. King’s birthday as a holiday.
Beverly Elliott Co-founder of African American Museum said “I was truly embarrassed; I was one of those people that was out marching before any of this was even passed. I was out with Clarence Boykins, we were out marching along with getting petitions so it’s fulfilling to see that happen”.
The museum is supporting the MLK committee for the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. This upcoming Monday there will be a march starting at 8:30am on MLK boulevard ending at Reid Park.