A few weeks ago I shared an incredible story, first published by Gothamist, about Eric Edwards, an African American art collector in Brooklyn, NY. For more than 44 years, Edwards has single-handedly amassed a distinctive collection of African art–estimated to be worth more than $10 million. The Eric Edwards Collection is considered to be one of the largest collections of African artifacts owned by any private collector in the U.S.
For years, Edwards has managed to successfully preserve this collection (over 2,500 artifacts spanning 4,000 years) in his Brooklyn apartment with hopes of opening The Cultural Museum of African Art Eric Edwards Collection in Brooklyn, New York sometime in 2016. Here’s the kicker (literally). A Kickstarter campaign was launched by Edwards with a goal of raising $35,000. So far, the campaign has reached $7,743 and now has only TEN days left to reach this goal. You, who know the rules of Kickstarter, know that this project will not receive a dime if they do not raise the full $35,000 by July 25, 2015.
How unfortunate that will be! I happen to like the idea of people coming together and supporting Black cultural institutions and people like Eric Edwards. In fact, there is no better time than now, especially given the Black Lives Matter movement, to not only affirm Black humanity, but to also affirm Black cultural institutions that reside in and service our communities.
I would like to pause and note that it was during the Black Power and Black Arts Movements in the 1960s and 1970s that a Black Museum Movement was born. Across the nation, Black museums, libraries and other cultural institutions emerged as a critical and necessary response to persistent racial inequality and blatant disregard, neglect, misrepresentation and misappropriation of Black history and culture by white institutions, public history sites, and in textbooks. Black museums sought to empower and engage their communities through the power of telling our own stories.
Eric Edwards is indeed a present and constant reminder that one of the most valuable ways to affirm our humanity is by studying and preserving our past, and sharing our history with the rest of the world through our museums and cultural institutions– #BlackMuseumsMatter — Affirmative.
To learn more about Eric Edwards or donate to this amazing project please check out the following links and be sure to share:
Eric Edwards CMAAEEC Kickstarter Campaign
Eric Edwards Kickstarter Project
**501(c)3 -Contributions are Tax Deductible
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