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City Unveils High Tech Mobile Exhibition about the History of African American Homesteading in New Mexico

Exhibit elevates diverse voices, first stop will be at the Albuquerque Museum.

October 13, 2021 - Today, Mayor Tim Keller along with leaders from the City’s Department of Arts & Culture unveiled Facing the Rising Sun: Homesteading from a Black Perspective, a high tech mobile exhibit telling the story and honoring the legacy of the first African American families to homestead New Mexico. Facing the Rising Sun is a partnership with the African American Museum & Cultural Center of New Mexico (AAMCC), with design and fabrication by Electric Playhouse. 

The first stop for the mobile exhibit will be the Albuquerque Museum where it will be on view to the public from January 22, 2022 to summer 2022. The exhibit examines the history of African American homesteading in our nation and state. It highlights the history of several families homesteading in three significant areas in New Mexico – Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Vado. Family histories included in the exhibit are those of Boyer & Fuller; Collins; Holsome; Lewis & Glover Ballou; Pettes; and Williams.

“Black history is Albuquerque’s history and it needs to be told. This exhibit shares a critical chapter in that history, a history of perseverance, ingenuity, and deep roots in New Mexico, said Mayor Keller. “With partnerships like this, we have to keep breaking down the ‘tri-cultural myth’ that has incorrectly simplified our history. Our history, just like our city today, is made up of diverse communities and many important stories that we are working to champion and elevate.”

“The collaboration with the City of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Museum shows their commitment to inclusion of the diverse histories of the state and allows for visibility of this history to the total New Mexico,” said Rita Powdrell, executive director of AAMCC. “The goal of this project is to showcase the history of homesteading, the history of land, people and community."

The story of African American Homesteading in New Mexico revolves around how the homestead acts helped families settle by tracing various Homestead Acts beginning in 1862. Following six family histories, interactive structures allow the visitor to physically step into the world of homesteading in New Mexico through documents that demonstrate identity.