A community of America’s thought leaders and cultural influencers convened in New York City on March 28-29, 2019, to articulate an innovative agenda for preserving African American history and stories as an engine of social justice through the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. In partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, and The JPB Foundation, the summit capitalized on the national spotlight and momentum around the Action Fund to create a nation where all Americans see their stories, history, and potential in the African American historic places that surround us.
Action Fund Advisory Council co-chairs Darren Walker and Phylicia Rashad kicked off an evening of music and conversation at the historic Apollo Theater, with jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and Action Fund Advisory Council co-chair Elizabeth Alexander, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. What followed was a day of dynamic and inspirational dialogue with a think tank of leaders from every sector—the arts, business, policymaking, academia, preservation, and more. We explored a forward-looking future and the role of cultural entrepreneurs, arts activists, preservation philanthropists, students, filmmakers, playwrights, and other new voices in shaping and defining our emerging social movement called the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.
From our panelists and moderators like Richelieu Dennis, Linda Wilson, Adam Pendleton, Daniel Beatty, and Yoruba Richen, to the next generation of cultural preservation professionals, to the Action Fund Advisory Council members Sherrilyn Ifill, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Evelyn Higginbotham, Irvin Henderson, Rep. Terri Sewell, and Dana Bourland, these and other speakers made this landmark event a success. They continue to inspire and motivate new forms of partnership, interpretation, and community.
The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is the largest nonprofit campaign ever undertaken to elevate and celebrate African American history in the places where it happened nationwide. The Action Fund is investing $25 million to save the places where African American artists, activists, and achievers of every generation made their mark and moved us all closer to America’s founding ideals. An esteemed National Advisory Council of America’s most respected and penetrating thinkers and leaders guides and directs this effort.