National Civil Rights Museum hosts Catalyst for Change Panel on Building Black Wealth

Panelists address myths, strategies, and actions for collective prosperity in the Black community

Memphis, TN, April 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On April 27, the National Civil Rights Museum is hosting a hybrid discussion, “Building Black Wealth: Past, Present, and Future,” to highlight the history of structural racism and systems that create wealth disparities between Black Americans and other communities.  By analyzing labor, employment, and economic development, panelists will inspire action toward building a future of economic safety and prosperity for the Black community.

“Building Black Wealth” is a topic shrouded in common myths about how success in underserved communities should look. Practices leading to divestment and distrust in economic power have delayed solutions to equitable and sustainable economic change.

“Before his death, Dr. King emphasized the dignity of labor and economic empowerment for all through his plans for the Poor People's Campaign,” said Dr. Russ Wigginton, Museum President. “Fifty-five years later, significant gaps remain between the "haves" and "have nots" and opportunities for people to reach their economic potential. The Museum is committed to raising awareness and working with leaders and organizations to find remedies to close these gaps.”

Moderated by Roshun Austin, the President/CEO of The Works, Inc., the panel will cover strategies for building equity through capital gains, social programs, and policy reform that address the high cost of education, increasing debt, and increasing interest rates.

The panelists include:

  • Jozelle Booker, President & CEO of Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum, whose work supports the growth and development of minority and women-owned businesses through advocacy, business consulting, capacity building, public and private contact connections and access to capital;
  • Dr. Charles McKinney, Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of History at Rhodes College, whose areas of expertise are the Civil Rights/Black Power Era, African American Activism, and African American Politics; and,
  • Erik Stevenson, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Greater Memphis Chamber. His work as a professional is centered around developing communities that have been historically underserved.

The free, hybrid event will include an in-person reception at 5:30 pm. The live stream begins at 6:00 pm Central on the museum’s website, YouTube, and Vimeo channels. Registration is highly recommended. For information and to register, visit the museum’s website.

About the National Civil Rights Museum

The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors from around the world have come, including more than 90,000 students annually. The Museum is steadfast in its mission to chronicle the American civil rights movement and tell the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights.  It educates and serves as a catalyst to inspire action to create positive social change. 

A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum is recognized as a 2019 National Medal Award recipient by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), the top national honor for museums and libraries.  It is a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10 American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.