Peoria Riverfront Museum showcases exhibit on African American leadership


PEORIA (WEEK) – The exhibit was called Community: African American Freedom, Perseverance, and Leadership.

On Thursday, the Riverfront Museum showcased stories of African American achievements. Some of which were unknown to much of the public.

“Symbolism is key,” City Counselman Andre Allen said. “You need to be able to see people that look like you in successful positions. I think it’s very important. Hopefully someone that has that entrepreneur spirit sees someone that looks like them and says, ‘you know what I could be the next Annie Malone’.”

Annie Malone was America’s first black female millionaire.

She lived in one of the first African American founded communities, Brooklyn Ill, and went to high school in Peoria

Agbara Bryson was a descendant of Annie Malone and the author of the Hidden Story of Annie Malone. He said it was important for young people in Peoria to know about Malone.

“I hope that this exhibit inspires all regardless of race, gender to understand that they can succeed,” Bryson said.

The exhibition also talked about the first African American towns founded in Illinois that became safe havens for freed and freedom seeking African Americans.

CEO and President of the Peoria Riverfront Museum John D. Morris said, “people who want to take pride and grow in confidence about the strength of Peoria’s diversity should come to see Community.”

Community was opened for the public to view until Spring of 2022.

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