Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth. profiles revolutionary men—including Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Kendrick Lamar—whose journeys have altered the history and culture of the country. Their achievements are woven within the legacy and traditions of the African American experience, becoming emblems of excellence in spite of society’s barriers.
Through inspiring quotes, original works of art, dramatic photographs, and a dynamic space that encourages self-reflection, this innovative exhibition brings together the historical and the contemporary to illuminate the importance of these men within the context of rich community traditions. It invites visitors to consider predominant narratives of Black male identity and engage in authentic stories from multiple perspectives. While these groundbreaking individuals made their mark in a variety of disciplines—politics, sports, science, entertainment, business, religion, and more—all understood the value of asserting their agency by owning their stories. Twenty-five contemporary artists were invited to reflect upon and celebrate the significance of these men through their own creative vision. These works of art serve as a counterpoint to sumptuously backlit photographs and evocative storytelling, and together they honor the truth of the African American experience in history and today.
Men of Change was developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and made possible through the generous support of the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services.