Through ongoing collaboration with the communities it serves, NAAM creates exhibitions that are relevant, inclusive, engaging, and entertaining. Our exhibitions explore the connections between our region and the history, art, and culture of people of African descent.
Pitch Black: African American Baseball in Washington
February 1, 2014 — November 9, 2014
The Northwest African American Museum is honored to present Pitch Black: African American Baseball in Washington, an original exhibition that illuminates the personal narratives of blacks in our communities who enjoyed the dynamic sport of baseball in our State.
Baseball in Washington’s black communities has a strong but quiet history. Most people know the segregated history of our national pastime, but few know how the story played out on the baseball fields in Seattle and throughout Washington. Left without a professional Negro League team until 1946, much of our State’s black baseball history was amateur and resultantly undocumented. The exhibition will introduce vignettes of our black baseball history with compelling artifacts, photographs, and oral histories collected from across the state. Pitch Black will explore the questions: Who played baseball and where? How did segregation and integration happen on our local baseball fields? When did we get a Negro League team? And What does black baseball look like today?
This exhibition was curated by Chieko T. Phillips, Exhibitions Manager at NAAM in consultation with a community advisory committee comprised of Bill North, Joe Staton… . Additional curatorial assistance was elicited from Hal Kramer, Jordan Leonard, Barbara Johns, Vicki Halper, and Becky Alexander and Julie Nathon Sayigh of EDX Design.
Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair
June 6, 2014 – September 7, 2014
Organized and toured by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
AFROS: A Celebration of Natural Hair features a captivating array of photographs taken by artist and social documentarian Michael July (Brooklyn, New York). Snapped during the height of New York’s simmering afro-chic scene. The photos represent the crème de la crème of the Afro hairstyle worn by people of different shades, ethnicities, nationalities, and ages. Conveying the power, beauty, and glorious nature of the ‘Fro each image tells the deeper “hairstory” of each of its models.
It was New Year’s Eve 2006 when Michael July first started documenting Afros; he explains, “I had an epiphany. At an Afro Punk party I noticed the most attractive young couple with large, perfectly rounded Afros. I wanted to shoot them so badly but was a bit hesitant because they were in such a playful zone that I was afraid I would interrupt it. Then out of nowhere they both looked at me and simultaneously asked ‘Aren’t you going to shoot us?’” After that encounter, July created a series of photos for a coffee table book to pay homage to the Afro from early days in America, to its roots in East Africa, and finally to the Afro renaissance that is sweeping the country today.
The book AFROS: A Celebration of Natural Hair will be available for purchase in NAAM’s Gift Shop.