Museum honors Rockford's African-American political leaders

ROCKFORD,Ill. (WIFR) - To celebrate Black History Month, the Ethnic Heritage Museum is honoring Rockford's African-American political leaders with a community exhibit.

The exhibit showcases the careers of local African-American elected and appointed leaders including Marcella Harris, Rockford's first African-American elected official.

"She was with the school board for quite a few years and as you can see this is only a portion of the accolades she received during that time," said David Ruffin, Board of Directors, Ethnic Heritage Museum.

The exhibit holds impact for leaders of the present and the past.

"Black History Month means celebrating where we've come from in spite of the obstacles that have been given to us," said Rep. Maurice West II (D-67th District).

West along with about 50 other African-American leaders are in the spotlight at Rockford's ethnic heritage museum.

"I heard that there is a picture of me on there and it's so humbling," West said.

You can even take a walk down memory lane to the times when Former President Barack Obama ran for the US Senate.

"So this was his campaign shirt and back then it was before 'yes we can' it was just Obama for Illinois," Ruffin said.

Each year the museum puts up a different exhibit for Black History Month and felt it was the perfect time to showcase political leaders.

"It's fortunate that we can let those people and the community see that we are the same, we have the same goals and it's an opportunity to come out and celebrate them," Ruffin said.

The exhibit will officially open this Sunday from 2 to 4 pm and will be open each Sunday during the month of February.