Michelle Browder

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Michelle Browder
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Born1971 (age 49–50)
Denver, Colorado
NationalityAmerican
CitizenshipUnited States of America
Alma materThe Art Institute of Atlanta
Occupation
  • Artist
  • Activist
Parent(s)
  • Chaplain Curtis Browder (father)

Michelle Browder (born 1971) is a nationally recognized artist and activist. Her work has been in exhibited in four galleries, including the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama..[1]

Browder has taught art at the Valiant Cross Boys School in Montgomery, Alabama, at the Atlanta Juvenile Detention Center, and launched The Haven At The Cross Roads After School arts program in Montgomery.[2]

She is the owner and operator of More Than Tours, a tour company which provides educational tours about racial bias and history to students and tourists in Montgomery, Alabama.[3] She has appeared on PBS Newshour[4], The TODAY Show[5], and has been featured in The Boston Globe[6], Preservation Magazine[7], National Geographic[8], and The New York Times[9].

The more up campus

Browder is the founder and artistic director of The Creative Changemakers Museum, which will display the Mothers of Gynecology Monument: Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey[10]. Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey were enslaved women from plantations in and around Montgomery, Alabama, who were experimented on by Dr. J. Marion Sims in the 1840s. After publishing his results, Sims became known as the Father of Gynecology. The Mothers of Gynecology monument will honor the women in a 12-foot public monument.[11]

The More Up Campus aims to educate the public on reductive rights, health and justice for Black women in America.[12]

The More Up Student Travel Center will house and educate youth travelers and activists visiting the Montgomery center through an established curriculum of art, historical exploration, and critical thinking[10].

Early life

Born in Denver, Colorado, Browder, family of the civil rights heroine Aurelia Browder of Browder v. Gayle, is the daughter of Chaplain Curtis Browder, the first Black prison chaplain appointed by George Wallace, and Buena Browder.[13] At seven years old, her family moved to Verbena, Alabama, where she experienced racial bias and prejudice. She began fighting back against her bullies physically and got suspended from school multiple times. It was during this period that her father encouraged her to express her anger through art and creativity[14].

At the age of 13, Browder started a hand-painted t-shirt business, and upon graduating high school, attended the Art Institute of Atlanta, where she studied Graphic Design and Visual Communications. Her time here led to her paintings being commissioned by Tyler Perry, Denzel Washington, and Bryan Stevenson[14]. Her work has also been shown at Stone Henge Gallery and The Club From Nowhere Gallery[14].

Education

Browder studied at The Art Institute of Atlanta, but dropped out in her final year due to racial bias in the process of the evaluation of her thesis[14].

Career

Browder has spent thirty years as a social justice and racial equity advocate and activist for at risk and marginalized youth.[15]

From 2002 to 2007, she opened an after school program in an impoverished area and opened a restaurant called PJR's Fish and BBQ Restaurants, and earned national recognition[14].

In 2012, she created the More Up Café, a meeting space for travelers to Montgomery that immersed students in history, spoken word, and visual art[3].

In 2012, Browder, working in a program called Haven, took a group of 56 students from Montgomery to Washington D.C. to see Attorney Bryan Stevenson argue a case before the United States Supreme Court.[16] The case, Miller v. Alabama, focused on the constitutionality of youth being sentenced to death in prison.[17] This inspired Browder to start the “I Am More Than Youth Empowerment Initiative,” which hosted community conversations, art-centered programs for schools, and youth-led conferences.[18]

I Am More Than Tours started in 2016, using art, history, and courageous conversations to teach Montgomery's history[3].

Browder states her mission, which includes tours and the cafe, is to tell the real, unvarnished truth about Montgomery, Alabama, and its past.[19]

Notable work

Browder’s work has been exhibited around the world, most notably the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama[1].

Browder’s mural for Black Lives Matter was painted near the site of Montgomery’s former slave market and was featured on The TODAY show.[20] She was the designer, artist and curator of the mural which is located at the historical Montgomery Slave Auction[20].

Browder’s work has been featured in The New York Times as a notable representation of Montgomery’s complicated past[21] and as a representation of the evolution of civil rights[22] as well as commemorating the centennial ratification of women’s right to vote.[23] She was the designer and artist of #TheMarchContinues Mural at the SPLC[24].

In spring 2020, Browder organized and hosted Sojourn: For Truth and Justice in Montgomery and Selma, Alabama, a two-day event which combined an ecumenical morning service, a visit to the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, a street art fair, and a fountain tour at the historic slave auction in downtown Montgomery.[25] It encouraged participants to dialogue with Foot Soldiers—as those active in the Civil Rights movement were known—and conference speakers whose work in the movement spanned decades.

In 2014, Browder was featured on TEDx River Region in 2014 with the speech entitled I AM MORE THAN, in which she worked to dispel stereotypes, generalizations, and statistics to fight racial bias[26]

Awards

Browder was given the Community Hero Award by the Mayor of Montgomery, Todd Strange, for her efforts as a bridge builder in her community using art, history, and conservation.[27]

Governor Kay Ivey presented Browder with the Rising Star in Tourism Award from the state of Alabama.[27]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Glusac, Elaine (2018-05-03). "36 Hours in Montgomery, Ala". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  2. "The Arts". valiantcross.org. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "More Than Tours". iammorethan7053. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  4. "Revitalizing Montgomery without erasing markers of the past". PBS NewsHour. 2018-06-01. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  5. "Black Lives Matter mural in Alabama has historical significance". TODAY.com. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  6. Correspondent, Linda Matchan Globe; February 21; 2019; Comments, 1:33 p m Email to a Friend Share on Facebook Share on TwitterPrint this Article View. "Sudbury woman is at center of restoration and reconciliation in Montgomery, Ala. - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  7. "One Woman's Guide to Hidden Historical Gems in Montgomery, Alabama | National Trust for Historic Preservation". savingplaces.org. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  8. "Take a road trip through Alabama's civil rights history". Travel. 2019-02-01. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  9. Glusac, Elaine (2018-05-03). "36 Hours in Montgomery, Ala. (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Anarcha Lucy Betsey Monument". Anarcha Lucy Betsey. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  11. Browder, Michelle. "The More Up Campus" (PDF). www.anarchalucybetsey.org.
  12. "Anarcha Lucy Betsey Monument". Anarcha Lucy Betsey. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  13. "StoryCorps: Curtis and Michelle Browder". 90.1 FM WABE. 2013-12-10. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 "Michelle Browder". genwnow.com. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  15. "I AM MORE THAN…™ ABOUT". iammorethan7053. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  16. "1st I Am More Than Youth Forum and Rally - June 2, 2012 - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  17. "Miller v. Alabama". oyez.org. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  18. Klass;, By Kym. "New Montgomery: First TEDxof year tonight". The Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved 2020-12-02.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  19. "Montgomery Elects Steven Reed, City's First-Ever Black Mayor". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Black Lives Matter mural in Alabama has historical significance". TODAY.com. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  21. Yuan, Jada (2018-02-27). "The 52 Places Traveler: In Montgomery, a City Embedded With Pain, Finding Progress (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  22. Glusac, Elaine (2018-05-03). "36 Hours in Montgomery, Ala. (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  23. Suri, Charu (2020-02-11). "Where to Celebrate Women's Rights This Year". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  24. "SPLC Unveils New Mural by Local Artist and Activist". Alabama News. 2020-09-25. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  25. "SOJOURN 2020 Art On the Square". iammorethan7053. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  26. "TEDx I AM MORE THAN by Michelle Browder - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Michelle Browder, Montgomery, AL". U.S. Department of Arts and Culture. Retrieved 2020-12-02.

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