Charles H. Wright Museum spotlights African American history

Charles H. Wright didn't just discuss African American history; he embraced it.

"My dad was just completely passionate and obsessed about all persons of color, specifically African Americans knowing their history," said Dr. Barbara Smith, daughter of the cultural icon.

While the late doctor dedicated his career to medicine, he's also known for his celerbation of African American's legacy. That passion is what lead Wright to founding the first International Afro-American Museum in Detroit.

Since then, the museum has changed locations and gone through renaming. Despite the changes, Wright's mission trudges on, with the museum's current president as its vessel.

"We have the opportunity to be that sort of gathering place for people to wrestle with really complex ideas around democracy, race, culture," said Neil Barclay, CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

In order to push that narrative forward, Barclay said it means refining how it's communicated. 

"...we're talking about black culture from the perspective of people have lived it."

Several exhibits strive to further that mission. The main exhibit, "And still we rise: Our Journey through African American History and Culture," is a 22,000 square foot interactive exhibit that attempts to cover the culture's expansive history.

Other exhibits showcase the bills of sale for slaves. One woman bought her freedom for $245. Another is a son's bill of sale that was worth $1,000.

Recently, proposed exhibits like the one discussing the life on the plantation of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson are being met with criticism.