October 30, 2012
A popular and influential collection of artwork featuring African leaders and rulers has returned for public viewing today at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Valued at more than $1 million, “The Great Kings and Queens of Africa” collection of paintings was commissioned by Anheuser-Busch in 1975. Today, the company announced it has donated the entire collection to UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the country’s largest and most effective minority education organization, which will distribute pieces from the collection to six UNCF member colleges and universities: Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Fisk University, Xavier University, Dillard University and Benedict College. Anheuser-Busch alsodonated 30 college scholarships, valued at $2,500 each, to student leaders from the six UNCF member HBCUs. The announcement was made as part of a leadership symposium hosted by Anheuser-Busch and UNCF.
“Anheuser-Busch believes in supporting educational opportunities, advancing cultural awareness and preserving the historic legacy rendered in the ‘Great Kings and Queens’ series,” said Vanessa Foster-Cooksey, senior director of Community Affairs at Anheuser-Busch. “We are proud to add to the art collections at prestigious university and college galleries to inspire future leaders.”
Presidents and students from the six UNCF schools receiving the donations joined Anheuser-Busch executives and the symposium keynote speaker, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, at the Leadership Center on the Morehouse campus. Mayor Reed shared his personal success story with the young leaders, who also participated in workshops and a service project with the American Red Cross, Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter.
Since the collection was first created, “The Great Kings and Queens of Africa” has introduced and educated the public about African history. It has been exhibited in such prominent venues as the United Nations, Capitol Hill, the Martin Luther King Library and the Kennedy Center, and viewed by more than 43 million people. Now the collection will continue to educate generations to come as it hangs in university and college galleries across the country.
“Anheuser-Busch’s donation of ‘The Great Kings and Queens of Africa’ paintings to UNCF for display in UNCF member HBCUs is an important contribution to the artistic and cultural education that have always been hallmarks of the HBCU experience,” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF president and CEO. “These works of art will help students appreciate both the paintings’ artistry and the historical stories they tell, while the scholarships help outstanding student leaders overcome the financial obstacles that face so many of our HBCU students.”
About the Anheuser-Busch “Great Kings and Queens of Africa” Collection
First commissioned by Anheuser-Busch in 1975, “The Great Kings and Queens of Africa” is a series of 30 works by 23 African American artists, many of whom went on to have successful careers in fine art. It features the great leaders and rulers throughout African history, researched by leading African history scholar, Dr. Henrik Clarke. The paintings became a valued part of teaching African history throughout the country. The collection’s award-winning artists included Jonathan Knight, Alexander Bostic, Barbara Higgins-Bond, Paul Collins, John Biggers, Lydia Thompson, Jerry Pinkney, Leo Dillon and Carl Owens. Reprints of the artwork were featured in Anheuser-Busch advertising, calendars and posters. To view the collection, visit http://anheuser-busch.com/index.php/our-responsibility/community-our-neighborhoods/education/legends-of-the-crown/.
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 38 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding more than 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. The UNCF logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at www.UNCF.org.