Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives opening and oral history project

12645001_657648147706976_3902566714826086628_n.pngOKT dropped by the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives (GRAAMA) Royal Opening on December 26. GRAAMA is currently located at 87 Monroe Center, downtown Grand Rapids. The space functions as a museum store and donations center. The opening coincided with the first day of Kwanzaa, Umoja. Festivities included a ribbon cutting, proclamation and Kwanzaa ceremonies. It also kicked off a membership and fundraising campaign in hopes GRAAMA can secure a building for its permanent collection.

GRAAMA’s 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.”

The GRAAMA store hours are 10 am-5 pm Tuesday-Saturday. For information, call 616 540 2943 or visit The Michigan Humanities Council and the W K Kellogg Foundation awarded the GRAAMA a $24,990 grant for its Grandmas Voice oral history project that will document the life experiences of some of the area’s oldest living people. African Americans, particularly women, are the focus of the grant.

GRAAMA is collaborating with the Grand Rapids Urban League and the Kutsche Office of Local History located at Grand Valley State University in this project. GRAAMA is looking for African American elders, primarily women, who can tell the story of early Grand Rapids or the surrounding area. Those who participate will receive a small stipend. The finished video and audio disk will be featured as a main attraction.  If you or someone you know are interested in participating, email George Bayard at