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The Northwest African American Museum Hosts Grand Reopening on Monday, Jan 16 in Honor MLK, Jr day

The Northwest African American Museum Hosts Grand Reopening on Monday, January 16 in Honor of MLK, Jr. Day

Acclaimed Actor and Activist Jesse Williams to Hold Moderated Conversation Responding to NAAM’s King Day Theme of “All, Here, and Now”

SEATTLE, WA - The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) will host a grand reopening and commemorate the King Day holiday on Monday, January 16, 2023. The event will feature guided tours of the galleries and exhibitions, screening of a Civil Rights film and an interactive video moderated conversation with Jesse Williams, actor, director, and activist noted for his role as executive producer of the powerful documentary film, Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement. With sponsorship support from Boeing and Union Bank, NAAM’s reopening represents the return of the Museum to its physical space after a three-year closure due to the pandemic.

NAAM’s King Day theme, “All, Here, and Now,” is based on the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “No, what we are saying to this nation is that we want all of our rights. We want them here, and we want all of them not next year, not next week, but we want them now, at this hour.”

“NAAM is a resilient, innovative organization committed to our mission no matter what. We uplift, share, and celebrate Black stories, even when our doors are closed,” noted LaNesha DeBardelaben, the President and CEO of the Northwest African American Museum. “We are thrilled to reopen our doors on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a robust program of activities offered all day for the entire family and community.”

King Day at NAAM is free and open to the public, and donations are encouraged. The family-friendly event will begin at 11:00 a.m. and will feature activities for kids, including live art activations, soccer training with the Seattle Sounders, storytime, and face painting. The event will also include musical performances by NAAM’s African American Cultural Ensemble (ACE) and will host a variety of speakers including spoken word artist Tia-Nache and local historian Dr. Daudi Abe. There will also be voter registration and a hygiene supply drive during the event. The celebration will continue in the early evening with an After Party featuring local deejay Chukundi “Kun Luv” Salisbury.

The featured exhibitions during NAAM’s King Day reopening to be on view through June 19 include:

  • Hallway of Healing and Hope – The exhibit tells the story of the Colman School building.

  • Making a Way: Jacob Lawrence and the Northwest Black Experience – This exhibition celebrates the life and artistic legacy of Jacob Lawrence as a Northwest artist.

  • The Colors of Life: African American Abstract Art and the Regathering of Community – This exhibition uses colorful abstract works by Northwest African and African American artists to resurrect our hope, connection, contemplation, and action as a community. Featured artists include LoMar Metoyer, Yeggy Michael, Shantell Jackson, Vincent Keele.

  • A Long Walk to Hope: The Photography of Seattle's Martin Luther King, Jr. March – This exhibition showcases the energy and magnitude of Seattle's annual King Day march through photographs taken by photographer Susan Fried.

  • Notables of the Northwest Hallway – A hallway featuring photos of notable African American musicians of the Northwest and a thoughtful quote from each of them.

NAAM is also partnering with the Onyx Fine Arts Collective to showcase works of five Black artists of the Collective: Asha Helmstetter, Johnny Harris, Eddie Reed, Ashby Reed, and Earnest D. Thomas.

“NAAM is an institution that captures our hopes and dreams in a world of pandemics and problems,” said former Seattle Mayor Norman Rice and NAAM board member. “Our region is happy to see NAAM reopen. Our past and future are both there at NAAM, where excellent things are happening.”

For more information about NAAM’s King Day, please visit


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