to complete the African-American Cultural Garden BECOME PART OF HISTORY

BECOME PART OF HISTORY

to complete the African-American Cultural Garden

The Association of African American Cultural Gardens provides unique educational experiences in a beautiful, inclusive atmosphere where individuals of all ages and backgrounds can interact in a space relevant to African American history.

The Association of African American Cultural Gardens is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the completion and maintenance of the African American Cultural Garden which is located within the Cleveland Cultural Garden Federation.  Our mission also includes hosting events that promote knowledge of African American history and celebrate African American culture.

 

The Association of African American Cultural Gardens was recognized by the Cleveland Cultural Garden Federation after the dedication of The African American Cultural Garden on October 23, 1977.

History

The journey to  claim a site for an African American Cultural Garden began in 1961 when Councilman Leo Jackson proposed a Negro garden at a site adjacent to Rockefeller Park.  Years passed, however, without resolution and in 1969 Cuyahoga Community College professor Booker Tall spearheaded a campaign to acquire a parcel for an Afro-American garden within the contiguous grounds of the Cleveland  Cultural Garden Federation. Mr. Tall worked with a team of community leaders that included Clarence Fitch, Carol Bugg, Bob Render, and Glen Brackens to rally and amplify community voices in support of the project.  The local chapter of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, which Tall was pivotal in organizing, was also involved.  Their goal was achieved when land for the African American Cultural Garden was dedicated October 23, 1977. The ceremony was attended by hundreds of supporters as well as dignitaries including then Mayor Ralph Perk and County Commissioner George Voinovich, the latter of whom served as the keynote speaker. 

The Association of African American Cultural Gardens (AAACG) was formed to develop and maintain the garden. As for other gardens, a delegate from the AAACG attended Cultural Garden Federation meetings. The  AAACG also began regular participation in One World Day.  The initial plan for the garden was to honor six widely renown African Americans who also had roots in Ohio or a major impact in Ohio: Richard Allen, Garrett Morgan Sr, Jesse Owens, John P. Green, Jane Edna Hunter,  and Langston Hughes. 

 

Subsequent notably vocal community activists for completion of the garden include Mrs. Cordell Edge, a long time Glenville resident who was appointed a CGF delegate for the garden in 2000 and current President Mr. Carl Ewing who became involved in 2012.

Sufficient funding for groundbreaking was achieved in 2015 with major assistance from the administrations of Mayor Michael White (1990-2002) and Mayor Frank Jackson (2005-present) .  The first component of a 3 part reimagined design representing the past, present and future of the African American experience created by local Architect Dan Bickerstaff was completed and dedicated in 2016. Fundraising for completion of Phases II and III is ongoing.

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Carl S. Ewing, President

The Association of The African American Cultural Gardens

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W. Daniel Bickerstaff II

The Association of The African American Cultural Gardens

PHASE 1: THE PAST PAVILION (COMPLETE)

Dedicated in 2016, The Past Pavilion translates the experience of the initial aspects of the “Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade’ through an reinterpretation of the corridors, dungeons and ultimately the “Doorway of No Return” of the slave castles located along the western coast of Africa. The Garden reflects these brutal conditions and despair with its polished black granite sculptural walls, which creates a sensation of compression, tension and apprehension. The “Doorway of No Return” is the sandstone portal which personifies fear of the unknown transition. The passive infinity fountain echoes the illusionary tranquility of the Atlantic Ocean as seen through the actual “Doorway of No Return.” The Middle Passage of the Past Pavilion alludes to the sense of going down into the bowels of the slave ships.
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THE ARCHITECTURAL FEATURE OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL GARDEN WILL REPRESENT THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

PHASE 1 HAS BEEN CONSTRUCTED. THE ASSOCIATION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL GARDENS IS NOW WORKING TO SECURE

$2.6 MILLION

FOR THE COMPLETION OF PHASES 2 AND 3.

PHASE 2: THE FUTURE PAVILION

The Future Pavilion responds to our need and desire for reflection and hope through the re-introduction of a fountain which counterbalances and pays respect to the passive symbolism of the past pavilion. The geyser effect of the fountain speaks to possessing a sense of pride and power and that of setting our own path and agenda while defying all odds.
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PHASE 3: The Completed African American Cultural Garden

Phase 3 will connect the water features from the Past Pavilion to the Present Pavilion and the water feature from the Present to the Future Pavilion. You learn from your Past as you live in the Present to secure your Future. This is what the African American Cultural Garden represents.  The Present Pavilion evokes the sense of emergence. The sculptural form emerges from the site echoing our emergence as a people in this country despite the myriad of challenges past, present and future and a spirit that could not be broken. African Americans have risen as leaders in education, science, medicine, sports, even President of this great country and much more. The black granite platform of The Present Pavilion will have a multipurpose use, amenable to special events, weddings, lectures, educational and social events. 

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OUR FUTURE GARDEN

THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT

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