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The Tubman African American Museum

Story by Kathleen Walls

Photos by Martin and Kathleen Walls

The Tubman Musuem welcomes you

Macon Georgia's Tubman African- American Musuem is a part of our hiistory and culture you don't often see. The museum is the largest African-American history in the Southeast and takes its mission is to educate people about African American art, history and culture very seriously.

Right up front, the name tells where it is all about. Harriet Tubman was many things: slave, union spy, scout, conductor on the Underground Railroad, nurse and what many people do not know, in her later years, she workled digliently for women's suffarage. The museum was founded 1981 and continues to grow.


Eighth mural in Africa to America series

Harriet Tubman Museum was rated the number one downtown attraction until September 1996 when it was slightly upstaged by its neighbor, The Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

From military heros such as Crispus Attucks, the first Black to die in the American Revolution, and Rodney Davis, Macon's only Medal of Honor recipient, to entertainment greats such as Otis Redding and blind singer-guitar player Rev. Pearly Brown who performed at Carnegie Hall and became the first Black entertainer to preform at the Grand Ole Opry, the musuem detalis African-American history. But as Andy Ambrose, Tubman Museum Director, points out, ?This is not just African-American history. It is our American history.?


The Inventors Gallery

No one group of people within a culture are an island. What is done by one group affects us all. So much of what was created, built, invented, accomplished and discovered by African-Americans has gone unnoted in mainstream history. The Tubman Musuem corrects this and sets the record straight.

It is divided into seven exhibits areas; From Africa to America, Special Exhibits, Inventiors Gallary, Local History, Folk Art, Fine Art and Georgia Artists.

From Africa to America presents the people and traditions brought to this country from Africa. It is done in a series of eight large paintings created by Macon native artist, Wilfred R. Stroud. Begriming in Africa, the earliest canvases show the life, culture and symbols of that country. As the paintings progress towards present day, they cover each era in American history and end with great African-Americans of today, including people like Michelle and Barrack Obama, Colin Powell and other leaders in politics and culture. Strous's original mural, From Africa to America, Measures 68 inches tall by 55 feet. long. As the signature piece in the Museum's collection, it is proudly displayed on the first floor of the Tubman Museum .

Ellen Craft exhibit

Harriet Tubman ?The Moses of Her People? is the center piece of Special Exhibits. It showcases the work of this remarkable woman.

Inventors Gallery was the most fun for me with all the gadgets and things we all take for granted without ever knowing how they came about. From a mail drop box to a two compartment lunchbox and hundreds of other items, these gadgets are often part of our everyday lives.

Being a history buff, Local History was fascinating. My favorite was the exhibits about Ellen Craft. Ellen was a slave in Macon who decided she would rather take her chances on being killed than remain a slave. She devised an ingenious plan to get herself and her husband to freedom. She was light complexioned enough to pass for white and a big enough to pass for a man. So she dressed in men's clothing, Bandaging her right hand so she would not be expected to sign her name as she had never learned to write, and traveled north with her husband who posed as her slave. They made it to freedom in Philadelphia and eventually to England.

Folk Art and Georgia Artists

Folk Art might be actually be called "soul art" as it is the expressions of the artists soul unfiltered by any fancy instructions or schools. Indeed many of the creations in this exhibit are created by artists with no formal art training at all. These works are not limited as to material and often created on whatever is at hand ranging from mud to rough boards. Some of it is strikingly moving.

Fine Art and Georgia Artists exhibits are the more traditional canvas and paint. They represent subjects that reflect on life of African Americans. The musuem also has an outreach program to bring its knowldege to schools. When you visit Macon, this is one place you do not want to miss.

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