GRCC, Public Museum co-host celebration of Ellen M. James, scholarship fundraiser

Aug. 28, 2019 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. A scholarship fund dedicated to honoring the trailblazing service of Ellen M. James is being celebrated with a Sept. 3 reception co-hosted by the Grand Rapids Community College Community College Foundation and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

The event is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 3 at the museum, 272 Pearl St. NW. A short program is planned for 6 p.m. People planning to attend should register online.

James was a founding member of the GRCC board of trustees and has long been recognized by Kent County residents as a tireless advocate for the marginalized and for expanding educational opportunities for all students. Hers is among the local voices highlighted in the museum’s new exhibit, “Changing America.”

“Ellen M. James' leadership shaped not just Grand Rapids Community College, but the history and quality of life in West Michigan and beyond,” said Kathryn Mullins, vice president for College Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation. “We’re excited that her inspiring story is included in the exhibit, and that the Ellen M. James Trailblazer Scholarship will help GRCC students follow in her footsteps.”

The traveling exhibit examines the relationship between the Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington, which both grew out of decades of bold actions, resistance, organization and vision.

The museum has added to the exhibition, using artifacts and stories from a local perspective. In addition to artifacts from its collections, many items on display are on loan from the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives.

Local stories, including James’ recollections, are told through the eyes of our community in the form of oral histories. The exhibition includes a place for visitors to share their stories, which will be saved in the GRPM’s digital archive.

About GRCC:

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for
more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training
programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown
Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through
distance learning.

About the Grand Rapids Public Museum:

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is an invaluable, publicly-owned institution that is home to more than
250,000 unique artifacts that tell the history of Kent County and beyond, houses the only planetarium in
the region, and is responsible for protecting the Mounds, a national historic landmark. The Grand Rapids
Public Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, with its main location in downtown
Grand Rapids, MI at 272 Pearl Street, NW. For additional information including hours of operation,
admission fees and exhibit/event listings, please visit

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