DALLAS (June 13, 2023) – In partnership with the Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center (VWEC), the African American Museum, Dallas will present the Women’s Military Memorial “Color of Freedom” exhibit opening today and running through July 19, 2023. With Texas having the country’s largest population of women veterans, the display includes the stories of various servicewomen of color and explores the impact that these women made while serving in various branches of the U.S. military. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
Women have served in the military since the Revolutionary War, but their true history and contributions often go untold. “Color of Freedom” aims to shine a light on servicewomen and veterans through education, validation and commemoration of their heroic history and contributions.
The opening of the exhibit falls just a day after Women Veterans Day in Texas, marking 75 years since President Harry Truman signed The Women Armed Services Integration Act on June 12, 1948, allowing women to serve as regular members of the Armed Forces.
Guests will also have access to a sampling of the stories from the women represented in the Memorial’s 1,400-plus file oral history collection. In addition, local women veterans are encouraged to submit their stories to the Women’s Military Memorial.
“These are my sisters-in-arms, and I am wholeheartedly committed to creating opportunities for women veterans to connect, collaborate and celebrate our service, sisterhood and continued comraderies,” said VR Small, founder/CEO of the VWEC.
The mission of the Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center (VWEC) is to empower entrepreneur women associated with the military – inclusive of veterans, active duty, reservist and military spouses – to scale for success.
“Color of Freedom” will serve as an educational tool on the sacrifices and contributions of the diverse individuals who paved the way to allow for women of all backgrounds to serve in the U.S. military. One such woman highlighted in the exhibit is Women’s Army Corps (WAC) Private First Class Sarah Keys, who stood up to discrimination in 1952 by refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger three years before Rosa Parks’ iconic act.
“The history of minority women in the military is often untold or underrepresented,” says Britta Granrud, Director of Collections and Curator for the Memorial. “In keeping with the Memorial’s mission to educate and inspire, the ‘Color of Freedom’ exhibit highlights narratives of determination to overcome discrimination on multiple fronts. Diversity is our strength, and women of color have been, and continue to play integral roles in our nation’s military and beyond.”
The project also seeks to be a catalyst for continued discussions on racial and gender disparities within the armed forces. Despite recent improvements, minority servicewomen continue to experience higher rates of discipline while serving and remain underrepresented in career fields that historically lead to leadership positions, according to a 2021 Department of the Air Force report.
HOURS. The African American Museum, Dallas is located at 3536 Grand Ave. in Dallas’ historic Fair Park. Hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free self-parking is available in nearby lots.
About the African American Museum, Dallas
The African American Museum, Dallas was founded in 1974 as a part of Bishop College. The Museum has operated independently since 1979. For more than 40 years, the African American Museum has stood as a cultural beacon in Dallas and the Southwestern United States. Located in Dallas’ historic Fair Park, the African American Museum is the only museum in the Southwestern United States devoted to the collection, preservation and display of African American artistic, cultural and historical materials that relate to the African American experience. The African American Museum incorporates a wide variety of visual art forms and historical documents that portray the African American experience in the United States, Southwest, and Dallas. The Museum has a small, but rich collection of African art, African American fine art and one of the largest African American folk-art collections in the United States. Learn more at aamdallas.org.
About the Military Women’s Memorial
The Military Women’s Memorial, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is the only historical repository documenting all military women’s service. It is located at the ceremonial entrance to Arlington National Cemetery and features an education center, interactive exhibitions, a world-class collection of military women’s stories, and engaging programs and events for all generations. The year 2022 commemorates the twenty-five years since the Military Women’s Memorial was dedicated and opened to the public in October of 1997 – still America’s only major memorial to honor and tell the stories of all of the nation’s women who have served in and with our military, beginning with the American Revolution. Find out more about us at womensmemorial.org.