African-American History Museum Fundraiser Sets Record

Gala garners support from prominent national and local figures


DETROIT – More than 1,100 national and local business, philanthropic and community leaders came out to support the 50th anniversary of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, hosted by Chevrolet and General Motors.

The collective effort surrounding THE JOURNEY: Recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, raised nearly $1.8 million, with donations still being received following Saturday’s event. The fifth annual event was the most successful fundraiser in the museum’s history.

“For 50 years, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History has been preserving and telling an important part of America’s history,” said Vivian Pickard, president of the GM Foundation and 50th Anniversary Gala chair. “Dr. Charles Wright’s legacy is legendary, and his work in the pursuit of freedom, justice, and equality has made the museum a national treasure.”

To parallel its 50th anniversary, the museum procured the Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair exhibit, providing a multisensory retrospective of the charity fashion spectacle that redefined the concepts of beauty, style and empowerment for African Americans. The GM Foundation supported bringing the exhibit to Detroit with a $75,000 grant.

For several years, members of the GM Global Design Center have donated original pieces of art to benefit local charities. This year, 18 Design Center members

created 26 pieces and donated them to the museum for auction. Support also came from other citizens and corporate donors, including five leaders in the African-American business community that donated $100,000 each.

Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design, along with GM Design sculpting model manager Deadre Bell-Smith, presented one of the works to Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of the Johnson Publishing Co., and daughter of fashion icon Eunice Johnson.

"GM has a long history of support for The Wright, for which we are most appreciative," said Juanita Moore, president & CEO of the museum. "From programmatic and institutional funding, to key executives serving on our Board of Trustees, to their amazing work with this year's 50th anniversary gala, the General Motors’ team helps us serve the community and perform the work that is at the heart of our mission."

Special guest attendees included the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.; Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Co. and past White House Social Secretary; Xernona Clayton, American civil rights leader and broadcasting executive; Tracy Reese, American fashion designer; Damon J. Keith, senior judge for the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and Detroit civil rights legend; Mike Duggan, Detroit Mayor; and Alicia Boler-Davis, senior vice president of GM Global Connected Customer Experience.

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About the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, The Wright Museum is the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. For more information, please visit