Free to Be

This year, as the African American Museum in Philadelphia celebrates its 35th anniversary, we are proud to present Free to Be: The Artistry & Impact of African Americans in Paris, 1900 – 1940, one of the Museum’s most ambitious undertakings to date, offering a wide-ranging exhibit, stimulating programs, and Paris ‘til Sunday, a jazz summit showcasing the era’s most unique art form. Presented as part of the first Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, AAMP joins over 100 cultural partners from throughout the region in exploring the unprecedented innovation, artistic experimentation and uninhibited creativity that exploded in Paris at the turn of the century. Free to Be unravels the remarkable and often untold stories of African Americans’ cultural contributions in both The City of Light and The City of Brotherly Love during the time period.

The African American Museum is pleased to join with the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts and the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance to present this exhibition.

Free from slavery but still shackled by discrimination, numerous early-twentieth-century African American artists crossed racial barriers and the Atlantic Ocean in search of better opportunities in the cultural capital of Paris. With rarely seen paintings from its own permanent collection, loans from prestigious institutions such as New York’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Howard University’s Art Gallery, and objects and costumes borrowed from private collections, Free to Be will immerses you in the artists and artworks of turn of the century Paris, highlighting the contributions of Henry Ossawa Tanner, Josephine Baker, Paul Robeson, Julian Abele, Langston Hughes and others.

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Exhibitions and events

Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776 - 1876

Permanent exhibition

On June 19, 2009, The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) unveiled its new core exhibition Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776 - 1876, presented by PECO. Its primary...

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