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February 2, 2010

DuSable's Sisters teaches how to fight the good fight

There have always been women fighting for liberty in a world determined to deny it to them. Freedom’s Sisters, a new exhibit at the DuSable Museum, tells the stories of 20 such African American women who struggled to achieve equal rights. If we can believe that their fight continues today, the exhibit's motto communicates a valuable lesson: “Let these women show you new ways to hope, to dream, and to be.”

Freedom’s Sisters is like a walking tour through the lives of 20 influential African American women, including Harriet Tubman, Coretta Scott King, Constance Baker Motley, and Rosa Parks. Each biography is composed of pictures and important quotations. A few include interactive touch screens.

Some displays have other features for attendees to interact with. Half of a bus occupies a space next to Rosa Parks’s biography. Each bench in the bus has something to do--at the press of a button, one of Parks’s quotations lit up. Fannie Lou Hamer’s exhibit included a barking dog held by a policeman to illustrate her experience protesting and demonstrating. The interactive models are extremely successful in making viewers feel as though they themselves are experiencing at least a little of what these women went through.

Freedom’s Sisters is unique in that it presents information that goes beyond the common knowledge of the well-known figures in women's rights movements. The exhibit chronicles their upbringings, hardships, and lives after their major accomplishments. It’s great to learn about the women before and after the events that made them famous.

With all the interactive models and inspirational quotes, Freedom’s Sisters is both educational and inspirational. Along with telling the stories of 20 highly influential African American women and their fight for equality, this exhibit encourages viewers to be leaders too. Visitors are encouraged to take a picture to add a page to a book of mini biographies of the 20 women in the exhibit, as well as sign a “freedom leader pledge.” Everyone can be a hero—including you!