“Footsteps to You” Exhibition at UCR’s Rivera Library to Trace History of the African-American Experience

Three-week-long exhibit features art and artifacts from the Black Voice Foundation for Media, History and the Arts Collection; Curator of African American Civil War Freedom Foundation and Museum to speak at Feb. 22 reception

Footsteps to you card

The Footsteps to You exhibit will begin a three-week run at the UCR Library beginning February 20.

Editors Note: This article is for the 2013 Footsteps to You Exhibit. For information on the 2014 exhibit, please visit this link.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — “Footsteps to You,” an exhibit of African and African-American art, artifacts and mementos that takes visitors through more than 200 years of history will begin a three-week exhibition in the lobby of the Tomás Rivera Library on the campus of the University of California, Riverside beginning February 20, 2013.


This ebony wood statue is part of the Issac Collection in the Footsteps to You exhibit.

The exhibit is provided by the Black Voice Foundation for Media, History and the Arts, traces the history and tells the stories of African-American people from Africa through the Civil War’s Underground Railroad and is co-sponsored by a variety of UCR organizations as a part of the campus’ celebration of Black History Month.

“I am very pleased to be able to collaborate with the Trio Program, the African Students Program, Student Affairs, the Black Voice Foundation, and Wells Fargo to bring this wonderful exhibit to our campus,” said UCR Librarian Ruth Jackson. “To hold the exhibit and the lecture in the UCR Libraries is a tribute to the role of research libraries in presenting and preserving cultural heritage.”

The center pieces of the exhibition will be three Tanzanian “Tree of Life” ebony wood pieces, with another 60-80 pieces from the collection on exhibit, according to foundation Director Hardy Brown.

A grand opening reception and lecture will be held on Friday, Feb. 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will feature a talk by Hari Jones, assistant director and curator of the African American Civil War Freedom Foundation and Museum in Washington D.C.

“He talks about history from the perspective of primary sources, soldiers and the African-American people who made an impact in that war. He talks from the Emancipation Proclamation through the Civil Rights era. It’s a little more first person and is very, very cool,” Brown said.

The exhibit will be on display from February 20 through March 16, 2013, but Brown said the reception, which is free and open to the public, will allow visitors a unique opportunity to interact with these pieces of history.


An African basket that makes up part of the Issac Collection in the Footsteps to You exhibit.

“We will bring between 60 and 80 pieces for the exhibit, and then we will have a number of other pieces for the reception,” Brown said. “People will be able to see, hear and touch these pieces of history.”

The three-week exhibition is just the second appearance of the collection and its first appearance in Riverside County. The majority of the collection, which totals about 900 pieces, was collected over several decades by Dr. Amos and Lorraine Issac of Redlands, who donated it to the foundation about five years ago.

“The Issac’s spent their entire careers in Africa and collected these pieces. So these are all originals from the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s,” Brown said. “We have had it on display in our offices, but we wanted to turn it into a traveling exhibit.”

The Black Voice Foundation for Media, History and the Arts is a 501(c)(3) organization attached to the Black Voice News newspaper. The mission of the foundation is to educate individuals about print, digital and electronic media, as well as the fields of education, professional development, history and the arts. In addition to the “Footsteps to You” exhibit, they sponsor the “Opportunity of a Lifetime” program that works virtually with low income students to assist them in reaching their higher education goals, and the “Footsteps to Freedom” program, a seven-day tour of the Civil War-era Underground Railroad for Inland Empire educators, which allows them to reach thousands of students.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

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