African American Museum of Southern Arizona Opens in Tucson

More from this show

Retired educator Beverely Elliott created the African American Museum of Southern Arizona based on a request from her grandson.

In February 2021, Elliott’s grandson was assigned to complete a report during Black History month on an African American Hero. At the time, Elliott was helping to create a museum of Black History in Michigan. Her grandson questioned if there a museum like that in Tucson. Elliott then went about creating the first-of-its-kind museum in Arizona honoring the history and accomplishments of Black Arizonans.

Were you surprised to learn that there was an African American Museum?

“I was stunned. I am a museum goer, but I would say I usually travel and when I traveled I would always try to find what type of museums were close by. Since I lived here, it’s one of those things where you don’t know what’s down the street,” said Elliott.

What is story about your grandson and how he took this thing off?

“Kindergartners and during the pandemic, that wasn’t a fun thing. My daughter and her husband asked me to come by as a retired educator and help out with a kindergartner and a third grader. Black History rolled around and his teacher said, ‘You need to do a report on a famous African American.’ Well unbeknownst to me, I am on a board for the African American Cultural Historical Museum, and I had no idea my grandson was listening,” said Elliott.

She further explains that her grandson then asked that museums are usually a place you can go to find out more information about our history. He then asks where is there a museum in Arizona. “I had to refer to a lot of people that were on the east coast, some that were connected to the Smithsonian,” said Elliott.

She goes on to say her grandson was quite upset to learn that there weren’t any museums in Arizona that talked about the history of African Americans. She said he then asked if they just didn’t do anything. “I had to reassure him that that was not the case,” said Elliott.

Beverely Elliott

5 woman performing for the Celtic Woman 20th Anniversary
airs Feb. 29

Celtic Woman 20th Anniversary Concert

A cute little duckling with text reading: Arizona PBS Ducks in a Row Event
March 6

Getting Your Ducks in a Row to Avoid Conflict When You Are Gone

A cactus blooms in the Sonoran Desert
airs Feb. 28

Desert Dreams: Celebrating Five Seasons in the Sonoran Desert

Barry Gibb singing (Bee Gees: In Our Own Time)
aired Feb. 24

Bee Gees: In Our Own Time

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: