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The African American Museum of Cleveland, founded in 1953 by Icabod Flewellen is the first independent African American museum in the Americas. Its mission is to store, share, and educate the public on contributions made to the world by people of African descent. Located in the historic Hough neighborhood of Cleveland since 1984, the African American Museum has provided cultural awareness, education about Black history, and community events in addition to a collection of artifacts that represent a holistic view of the African diaspora experience.


  • Icabod Flewellen (1916-2001). Photo: East Cleveland Public Library
  • The Cleveland African American Museum was originally founded in 1953 by Icabod Flewellen. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Known as the "Father of African American Museums," Icabod Flewellen founded the African American Museum of Cleveland in 1953. It is the first independent African American museum in the Americas. Its sole purpose is to store, share, and educate people about the many contributions made to the world by people of African descent.

The museum has played a significant role in increasing cultural awareness and education about black history. It has been a much sought out venue for community events because of its collection of artifacts that show the African diasporic experience.

In 2005, the museum closed, but it reopened in 2009 part-time, thanks to the effort of a group of community volunteers. As of 2018, however, it is unclear how active the museum still is.


"About us." The Cleveland African American Museum. Accessed June 29, 2015.  http://aamcleveland.wixsite.com/aamc/about_us.

Ison, Angela. "Museum Founded by Flewellen Remains Closed and Ignored." The Cleveland Stater. February 11, 2011.  http://www.csuohio.edu/class/com/clevelandstater/Archives/Vol%2012/Issue%209/Copy/120914.html.
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