• Freedom's Sisters traveling exhibition honors 20 extraordinary African American women
  • Ford Motor Company Fund, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and Cincinnati Museum Center Partner with Sacramento Public Library to present groundbreaking exhibition
  • Legends from the exhibition to attend invitation only opening reception on Friday, October 24th

SACRAMENTO, Calif., October 24, 2008— It would be difficult to imagine the course of American history without them: Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad; Rosa Parks and her brave refusal in 1955 to relinquish her seat on a Montgomery city bus; Fannie Lou Hamer and her courageous stand at a 1968 political convention. These stories of courage and commitment are among the many featured in “Freedom’s Sisters,” a collaboration between the Cincinnati Museum Center, Ford Motor Company and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).

Following an opening reception on Friday, October 24, 2008 at the Central Library, the exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, October 25th and will remain there until January 4, 2009. It will then continue its three-year tour and travel to seven additional cities, Memphis, Birmingham, Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlanta. National and local media, celebrities, dignitaries and honorees of the exhibition will attend the VIP opening event.

“This exhibition brings riveting chapters of American history to life through the legacies of 20 outstanding African American women who helped shape civil rights in America and is part of Ford's overall commitment to celebrating our American heritage and legacy," said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, "Ford is extremely proud to host the exhibition at the public library in Sacramento, where it will be shared and celebrated by people of all ages and experiences.”

The interactive exhibit invites visitors to bear witness to some of the most important moments in our nation’s history. Freedom’s Sisters is expected to attract people of all ages, races, and backgrounds, whether they were a part of the civil rights movement themselves, or a student of the movement through stories passed down through family, friends and history books.

“It is important for us to honor the courageous African American women who have stood up against injustice,” said Smithsonian Regent Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-05). “I hope that those who leave the exhibit will feel as empowered as I do. As a mother and a grandmother, I am encouraged that the Freedom’s Sisters exhibit highlights the contributions of the women who have fought so bravely for our freedoms. This exhibit will give Sacramentans an opportunity to go beyond the history books, to learn about the everyday work of the women who dared to dream.”

Throughout its nationwide tour, the exhibition will seek to encourage and motivate the next generation of leaders through dialogue on the civil rights struggle. Organized around four themes "Dare to Dream,” “Inspire Lives” “Serve the Public” and “Look to the Future,” Freedom’s Sisters is designed especially as an educational tool targeting students. Historical simulations and interactive displays drive home messages and meanings central to each woman’s life.

“SITES is pleased to bring Freedom’s Sister’s to Sacramento and other cities across the country,” said SITES Director Anna Cohn. “The work, vision and lives of these women are truly a cultural and historical touchstone for Americans of all ages and we are excited to share with thousands of others – many of them children – their inspiring and important stories.”

"The Sacramento Public Library is honored to present this extraordinary exhibition. A variety of engaging and educational community outreach programs reflecting the exhibition's theme are planned," said Library Director, Anne Marie Gold. "We are particularly excited to encourage students, 4th-8th grade, to visit the exhibition and enter the Freedom's Sisters essay contest."

For more information on the Freedom’s Sisters exhibition, visit or call (916) 264-2900.

Freedom’s Sisters Exhibition Honorees

Ella J. Baker

Barbara Jordan

Constance Baker Motley

Mary McLeod Bethune

Shirley Chisholm

Rosa Parks

Mary Church Terrell

Sonia Sanchez

Septima Poinsette Clark

Coretta Scott King

Kathleen Cleaver

Betty Shabazz

Myrlie Evers-Williams

Harriet Tubman

Fannie Lou Hamer

C. Delores Tucker

Dorothy Height

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Freedom’s Sisters Exhibition National Committee of Honor

Julian Bond

Gloria Ray Karlmark

Roslyn Brock

Hon. Damon J. Keith

Lonnie Bunch

Hon. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

Hon. Julia M. Carson

Patti LaBelle

Hon. Donna Christian-Christensen

Hon. Barbara Lee

Dr. Johnetta B. Cole

Hon. Sheila Jackson Lee

Hazel Dukes

Barbara A. McKinzie

Elizabeth Eckford

Bishop Vashti McKenzie

Kevin Frazier

Hon. Gwendolynne Moore

Ed Gordon

Marc Morial

Alexis M. Herman

Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton

Cathy L. Hughes

General Colin L. Powell USA, (RET)

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.

Dr. Louise Rice

Dr. Mae C. Jemison

Terrence J. Roberts Ph.D.

Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson

Jefferson Thomas

Sheila C. Johnson

Hon. Maxine Waters

Hon. Stephanie Tubbs Jones

Hon. Diane Watson

Quincy Jones


Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services is committed to creating opportunities that promote corporate citizenship, philanthropy, volunteerism and cultural diversity for those who live in the communities where Ford operates. Established in 1949 and made possible by funding from Ford Motor Company, Ford Motor Company Fund supports initiatives and institutions that foster innovative education, auto-related safety, and American heritage and legacy. National programs include Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, which provides high school students with academically rigorous 21st century learning experiences, and Driving Skills for Life, a teen-focused auto safety initiative. The Ford Volunteer Corps, established in 2005, continues Ford's legacy of caring worldwide. Through the Volunteer Corps, Ford employees and retirees participate in a wide range of volunteer projects in their communities. For more information on programs made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, visit

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is home to the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater, and the Cincinnati Historical Society Library. It is a nationally recognized educational and research resource and one of the top cultural attractions in the Midwest. Cincinnati Museum Center serves more than one million visitors annually, reaching out to almost 200,000 young people through hands-on exhibits and programs. As a center for the community, more than 700 events are held in the building each year. Originally built in 1933 as the Union Terminal train station, the building is a national historic landmark and was renovated and reopened as Cincinnati Museum Center in 1990. For information, call (513) 287-7000 or 1-800-733-2077 or visit

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For more information, including exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit

The Sacramento Public Library is a distinctive, vital, and widely-used community service with its 27 city and county library branches and two bookmobiles. The Sacramento Public Library is the fifth largest library system in the state and is the information hub of all the libraries in the central region of Northern California. More than 467,000 Sacramento area residents have a library card. The library circulates more than 6,125,000 items annually. Its holdings include more than 1,900,000 items that include adult and children's books, magazines, newspapers, audio cassettes, compact discs, DVDs, and videos. It also offers free one-to-one online tutoring sessions to students, chat reference, and several databases containing millions of electronic articles and items not available on the World Wide Web. For more information, visit