by Rita Charleston, Philadelphia Tribune Correspondent
After a nearly year-long search, her qualifications helped make her the forerunner and ultimate choice for President and CEO of the African American Museum of Philadelphia (AAMP).
And the candidate chosen was Dr. Ashley Jordan.
Dr. Jordan, who most recently served as Senior Director of Development at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, believes her qualifications and past work history will blend perfectly with the goals of AAMP, which she calls a “crown jewel in the region and one I believe will transform into a world-class destination by focusing on education, engagement, and expansion.”
She adds that “Philadelphia is a great site for freedom and for telling the history of that freedom, so it is the perfect place for us to tell our story and educate others.”
A native of Ohio, Dr. Jordan’s original career goal was to become a newscaster. And although she received her undergraduate degree in history with a minor in political science from Kent State University, as well as her doctorate in United States History from Howard University, she believes that those two goals are not dissimilar.
“I feel I have the ability to communicate with people,” she notes, “as well as a well-rounded resume of both professional and academic experience that will serve me well in defining and achieving the goals of the Museum.”
Founded in 1976 in celebration of our nation’s bicentennial, AAMP is the first institution funded and built by a major municipality to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage of African Americans. The mission of the Museum is to bring together diverse communities in greater appreciation of the Black experience through the combined narrative of art, history and culture. Throughout its evolution, the Museum has objectively interpreted and presented the achievements and aspirations of African Americans from precolonial times to the current day.
Case in point, AAMP’s current exhibit on Anna Russell Jones: The Art of Design. This exhibit, which continues through Sept. 12, hopes to expand our knowledge of the limits and odds contended with by Black women artists throughout the majority of the 20th century, and what it meant to live in spite of race, class and gender subjugation.
“Anna Russell Jones didn’t stop achieving her goals, no matter what obstacles she faced,” Dr. Jordan explains. “We hope that with this exhibit we are able to inspire others.”
And it is AAMP’s hope that Dr. Jordan’s appointment and extensive professional experience will inspire others to achieve their own individual goals.
Aside from her wealth of experience as a manager, curator and professor of African American studies,
Dr. Jordan is the proud recipient of numerous professional, academic and civic awards, including the Pace Setter Award from the Association of African American Museums, the Black Excellence Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and others.
Additionally, Dr. Jordan is an active member of the Association of African American Museums, the Association for State and Local History, the Association for the Study of African America Life and History, and more.
With less than one week on the job, Dr. Jordan has many plans in mind, which, she says, match the missions of the Museum.
“We will be looking at ways to expand our message with the help of our staff, making sure we have sustainability. We want to stay connected with the people of Philadelphia as well as the rest of the country. And I am honored to be here and serving as the new president and CEO of this great Museum.
Dr. Ashley Jordan — Submitted