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Collection Tier:
Tier 3

Video and Audio ➔ Oral History, George Bayard

For the Changing America exhibit, local community leaders were asked to respond to the question: How do you see the legacy of the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington in Grand Rapids today?
Digital Audio
Changing America (May 25 – October 13 2019)

Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963, examines the relationship between two great people’s movements, which both grew out of decades of bold actions, resistance, organization, and vision. One hundred years separate them, yet they are linked in a larger story of liberty and the American experience – one that has had a profound impact on the generations that followed. 

The GRPM added artifacts and stories to the exhibition to give it an additional local perspective. In addition to artifacts from the GRPM Collections, many artifacts on display are on loan from the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives. Local stories are told through the eyes of our community in the form of oral histories and a place for visitors to share their own stories.

Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963 was created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Bayard, George
George Bayard started Bayard Art Consulting in 1989. That business evolved into Bayard Gallery of Fine African American Art & Books which also fed our urge to collect Black history. George has owned West Michigan’s oldest gallery devoted to artists of color for 30 years. An Art Education major from the University of Delaware, George became regional manager of Philadelphia’s largest picture frame chain before moving to Michigan. Bayard Gallery hosted Kwanzaa, Juneteenth, Underground Rail Roadshow, Authors Day, Soul of the City Festival, 100’s of exhibits, lectures, and book signings.

Currently, George is founder and Executive Director of the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA). This 5-year journey has culminated in Grand Rapids only museum devoted to Black history, culture, education and community.

George is a professional picture framer, conservator, appraiser, artist, lecturer, collector, historian, artist’s representative, rare book seller, arts writer and arts advocate.