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Ford Motor Company Fund and the Charles H. Wright Museum Announce the Opening of "Men of Change" Exhibition and Finalists in Men of Courage Detroit Barbershop Challenge

  • "Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth." Opens Oct. 10 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The Smithsonian traveling exhibition celebrates transformative leaders in the Black community.

  • The Detroit Barbershop Challenge is an extension of the Ford Men of Courage program—an initiative aimed at shifting the narrative and messaging around African American men.

  • Dawn Sandford of Shears and Shaves Spa and Duane Greathouse of Greathouse Barber and Beauty Shop selected as Men of Courage Detroit Barbershop Challenge finalists.

  • Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, CEO and Co-Founder of The Gathering Spot Ryan Wilson, CNN Political Commentator Bakari Sellers, and other African American leaders to headline Men of Courage Leadership Forum on State of the Black Man.

DETROIT, Oct. 8, 2021 — Ford Motor Company Fund and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History announced today the opening of the "Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth." The exhibition opens to the public on Sunday, Oct. 10 at the Wright Museum.

Men of Courage logo black background

"Men of Change," created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), is made possible through the support of Ford Motor Company Fund, the automaker's philanthropic arm, and 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. Participating artists include Nina Chanel Abney, Derrick Adams, Robert Pruitt, Tariku Shiferaw and Devan Shimoyama.

In conjunction with the exhibit opening in Detroit, Ford and Ford Fund are launching two grassroots community initiatives—a Men of Courage Leadership Forum featuring a panel on the State of the Black Man and a Men of Courage Barbershop Challenge.

The Men of Courage Barbershop Challenge is an expansion of the Men of Courage grassroots program that launched in 2015. Its intent is to build communities by advancing the narrative of Black men through storytelling. The Men of Courage initiative has included several activations that include community outreach, education programs and toolkits for conversation starters.

Detroit-area barbershop finalists Dawn Sandford of Shears and Shaves Spa in Detroit and Duane Greathouse of Greathouse Barber and Beauty Shop in Southfield, Mich. will continue that legacy as they compete over the next three months to win a $10,000 grant based on their implementation of initiatives and activities that educate and reinforce positive narratives around Black men. Each barbershop will be challenged with coming up with six innovative community programs to host in their shops. The barbershop that is the most creative in thinking outside of the box will be successful.

"Ford Fund is proud to bring the 'Men of Change' exhibition to the heart of Detroit at the Wright Museum as we uplift and celebrate the many contributions of African American men to our society," said Pamela Alexander, director of Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. "Its powerful displays of courage, leadership and transformation are not only present in the exhibit but in the everyday lives of Black men. We are excited to showcase this exhibition along with the companion grassroots activation, Ford Men of Courage Leadership Forum along with the Men of Courage Barbershop Challenge competition."

Generally held in local communities as a companion event to the Men of Courage Barbershop Challenge, the Men of Courage Leadership Forum focuses on shifting the social economic narrative of African American men through a series of curated workshops and intimate discussions designed to encourage and develop the personal brands, leadership skills and entrepreneurial endeavors of its participants. The forum is led by nationally recognized leaders including serial entrepreneur, brand strategist and CEO of Rebrand Cities Hajj Flemings; Chief of Staff Lambert and co-host Hail to the Chiefs Walter Ward III; and former NFL Chaplain and leadership development expert, Jonathan Wilkins.

Over the past six years, curated leadership forums have been held in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Tacoma, Wash., with national stakeholders such as Detroit native, author and community activist Shaka Senghor, former Detroit mayor and NBA Hall of Famer Dave Bing and NFL Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis.

The Detroit Men of Courage Leadership Forum takes place Friday, Oct. 8, at the Wright Museum. The invitation-only event will be attended by an intergenerational group of community stakeholders, youth and other thought leaders nominated by the community. Along with the aforementioned workshops, a highlight of the forum will be a "State of the Black Man" panel discussion featuring Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, keynote speaker and CEO and Co-Founder of The Gathering Spot Ryan Wilson and other notable African American leaders including Bakari Sellers, CNN Political Commentator, attorney, and New York Times best-selling author.

"We are proud to partner with the Ford Motor Company Fund in bringing the 'Men of Change' exhibition and the Men of Courage Barbershop Challenge to the Detroit area. We look forward to experiencing the impact of the transformative and meaningful activities that will come out of the programming," said Neil Barclay President of the Charles H. Wright Museum. "Men of Courage is the perfect companion program to the 'Men of Change' exhibition. The Charles H. Wright Museum is honored to host the exhibition. We encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to see it here."

"Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth." opens to the public Sunday, Oct. 10, at the Wright Museum, 315 E. Warren Ave. in Detroit. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children with general admission. Online reservations for your timed admission are required. For more information, visit thewright.org.

For more information on Ford Fund programs that support the African American community, visit fordfund.org.

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About Ford Motor Company Fund

As the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund's mission is to strengthen communities and help make people's lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in more than 50 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential. Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2.1 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering. For more information, visit www.fordfund.org or join us at @FordFund on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About the Charles Wright Museum of African American History

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History was founded in 1965 and is located at 315 East Warren Avenue, in Detroit, Michigan. The Wright Museum's mission is to open minds and change lives through the exploration and celebration of African American history and culture. And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture is the museum's 22,000 square foot, immersive core exhibit and the largest, single exhibition surveying the history of African Americans. The Wright Museum houses more than 35,000 artifacts and archival materials. For up-to-date information regarding programs and exhibits and to plan your timed admission, visit www.thewright.org.

About the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For more information, including exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit sites.si.edu.

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