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Collection Tier:
Tier 3

Video and Audio ➔ Oral History, Cynthia Bailey

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).

Cynthia Bailey
Cynthia Bailey is a volunteer at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. As a discovery cart volunteer she chooses Hats as her favorite exhibit to explore. Hats tell a story about the culture, duties and personalities of the wearer. She is also an educator for the newcomer exhibit with school groups. Both opportunities are fun and challenging because no group or day is the same. Cynthia is an active member of Toastmasters International, a worldwide organization, where she has achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award which is the highest the organization bestows. The DTM recognizes a superior level of achievement in both communication and leadership. Cynthia is a member of the West Michigan Genealogical Society.