On August 28, 1963, about a quarter-million people participated in the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom gathering near the Lincoln Memorial. More than 3,000 members of the press covered this historic march, in which Rev. Dr. ​Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the exalted “I Have a Dream” speech .President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."The American Freedom 1863-1963 Exhibit" explores the way African Americans reacted to the word of freedom which slowly made it’s way across the country until all were informed. However many slave owners did not release their slaves and kept them working for free until the next decade. The items in this museum collection serve as reminders of our past and how slavery affected our future.

   Location 87 Monroe Center St.

    1 Block east of Rosa Parks Circle



Come inspire others

Early planning, financing campaign, pursue a location and start construction. Share your experience, knowledge and skills with other creative minds in these efforts.

Our Mission

Our mission is to promote, preserve, display, collect and honor the lives, culture, history and accomplishments of African, African American, and connected peoples in the Greater Grand Rapids Michigan community.

"We are not makers of history, We are made by history"

Martin Luther King Jr.

What do all of these people have in common?

Proposed opening date for your own museum that tells your stories. We want families, schools, researchers and individuals to know the global impact of African Americans from our city.

Save Our African American Treasures

 GRAAMA (Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives) invites veterans and those visiting for reunions to bring in your family photographs, letters, and journals during the summer.  We will digitize your items and talk about how your family history contributes to the story of our community

Please consider a year end donation to GRAAMA

    Come be inspired

Hours are 12:00 noon til 5:00 p m  Tuesday- Saturday .  We have special event hours please call 616 540-2943 for more information

Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives