The Acacia Collection with the venerable Judith Wraggs Chase, Louise Alston Graves Charleston Old Slave Mart Museum and Library collectively referred to as the “Greater Acacia Collection” serves uniquely and singularly as the material culture foundation of the African-American experience in the western world.
In the Beginning:
The Greater Acacia Collection also presents the “true history” of the struggles, challenges and accomplishments of Americans of African descent in establishing the authentic bedrock to construct a “Bridge of Understanding” by and between the continents of Mother Africa, Europe, America and all of mankind.
Contemporary civilizations can learn much from the unique experience of African-Americans whose origins began in slavery in Africa ....were transported in bondage to enrich European commerce and sold as titled property in the New World. These are but the opening chapters in the amazing journey of survival, emancipation, liberation, civil rights and the continued struggle for equality of African-Americans.
It is only through knowledge, enlightenment and recognition that an honest and open “Bridge of Understanding” can change the world of hatred, prejudices and mistrust.
The Greater Acacia Collection presents abundant evidence through artifacts, memorabilia, library (i.e. books, documents, maps, photographs, slides, flat work, realia and ephemera) and material culture providence.... to build a real “Bridge of Understanding”.
Historical curiosity in the arts, crafts, skills and artisan talents of African-Americans dates to the late 1930’s when Miriam B. Wilson, the founder of the Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, South Carolina began the curatorial task of preserving, saving and collecting many Afro-American artifacts and related historical information threatened to be lost to posterity and extinction. (see full “Greater Acacia Collection” Historical Journey) In the ensuing and post World War II years, the original vision of Ms. Wilson was pursued by the passion, sensitivity and intellectual investment of the Old Slave Mart Museum Director, Mrs. Louise Alston Graves, and further into the deep African origins of Afro-American art through the indomitable talents of educator, Mrs. Judith Wraggs Chase.
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If ever there was an early architect in designing a “Bridge of Understanding” between Africa and the Africa-American experience it was museum curator, artist, lecturer and teacher, Judith Wraggs Chase. For better appreciation of the “Value Of Understanding”, consider Mrs. Chase as white, without any color barrier, representing the “black” community of Charleston at the First World Festival of Negro Arts at Dakar, Senegal in 1966. Better yet, read her seminal titled work, “Afro-American Art and Craft”, published in 1971 for a clarion view of a true pioneer in understanding. At the core of historical truth is the understanding that some one must serve as the “honest” custodian of history. Starting with Miriam B. Wilson, African Americana has four strong pillars in the critical preservation of African American material culture....without whom doubtless, no “Bridge of Understanding” could be constructed.
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