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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces New Exhibit, “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.”

CINCINNATI, OH. – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.” today. The exhibit will open for the first-time to the public on Saturday, August 17 through December 1, 2019 in the Skirball Gallery before continuing on a three-year, 10-city tour. 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.

“Men of Change” highlights revolutionary men—including Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, W.E.B. Du Bois and Kendrick Lamar—whose journeys have altered the history and culture of the country through politics, sports, science, entertainment, business and religion. Each biography is paired with original artwork by a noted artist that accentuates the subjects’ individual legacies. The exhibition weaves a collective tapestry of what it is to be an African American man, past and present, and the legacy that only strengthens across generations. Participating artists include Nina Chanel Abney, Derrick Adams, Robert Pruitt, Tariku Shiferaw and Devan Shimoyama.

“I can’t even begin to express how excited we are to host this new and exciting exhibition that highlights the accomplishments of these gentlemen and tells their stories from an intergenerational and artistic perspective,” says National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Deputy Director, Jacqueline Dace. “It is crucial that we all work together to change the narrative and by sharing the stories in this exhibit, we look to not only highlight the contributions of these men but also challenge the perception on how African American men are viewed, and shed a positive light on them.”

“We are honored as a Smithsonian Affiliate to help propel the Smithsonian Institution’s vision through this exhibit as it engages people with critical conversation on issues affecting our nation and the world,” says National Underground Railroad Freedom Center President and COO, Dion Brown. “By showcasing ‘Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.’ we encourage our visitors to engage in conversations and get an in-depth understanding of why the works of these men and the men from throughout their communities are so significant to America’s history.”

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.

“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.”

The “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.” exhibit is sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund, which continues its commitment to supporting the stories of all pockets of American culture, building from a relationship with SITES that includes past exhibitions “Freedom’s Sisters,” “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music,” and “Our Journeys, Our Stories: Portraits of Latino Achievement.”

“Ford and the Smithsonian have a shared commitment to honoring people and achievements that make our world a better place,” said Jim Vella, president of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “We are proud to partner with them on this innovative exhibition.”

“Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.” opens to the public Saturday, August 17, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Tickets are $10 with general admission and $5 for members. For more information, visit