Say the name Chris Webber and smiling faces will soon engage you in animated conversations about his stellar achievements as an NBA star on the basketball court. Others speak of his entrepreneurial efforts. And there are those who delight in talking about the work of his foundation. There is, of course, another facet of Webber that few know. He is a devoted collector of African American artifacts and documents that span four different centuries—the 1700s, 1800s, 1900s and 2000s. A sampling includes first edition books by Phillis Wheatley and Booker T. Washington, a ledger owned by a slaveholding Virginian who recorded the sale of a family, personal writings by Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as an album recorded by Paul Robeson and a concert program signed by Marian Anderson.
Webber shares such important artifacts and documents with the public, especially children, and thereby allows us to celebrate the impact that great luminaries have made on the lives of every American. But equally significant, his collection speaks to the humanity of a people and their will to overcome adversity. There is a human need to remember the heroes and heroines in our history who championed our values, participated in our struggles, and contributed to the ongoing development of our community and society. Chris Webber for brings his collection to communities to give the public another opportunity to remember and celebrate a glorious heritage.
On June 28, 2007, Webber unveiled his collection of African American artifacts during the Celebrating Heritage Exhibition at Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. When not on public exhibit, the artifacts are stored at the Sacramento Public Library’s Archival Vault. In previous years, the Chris Webber Collection has previously been featured in Crocker Art Museum and Wayne State University.
Meet Little Chris! Little Chris accompanies teachers, parents and students through a fun-learning adventure in this FREE DOWNLOADABLE, action packed activity book. The Collection Curriculum includes a collection of African-American artifacts and documents that span four different centuries—the 1700s, 1800s, 1900s, and 2000s.
The Collection Curriculum, features documents and letters from The Chris Webber Collection featuring, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, renowned scientist George Washington Carver, Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Overture as well as a treasured, rare first edition book of poems by Phillis Wheatley and a Carte-de-Viste and letter from Frederick Douglass. Curated by Chris Webber, The Chris Webber Collection has exhibited in several locations to expose youth to African American history and culture.
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THE WEBBER FOUNDATION
About 50 million students are heading off to approximately 99,000 public elementary and secondary schools for the fall 2013 term, and before the school year is out, an estimated $591 billion will be spent related to their education.
The Webber Foundation’s mission is to provide positive educational and recreational opportunities to youth, particularly those who are disadvantaged. Central to that mission are four educational objectives:
- To encourage and motivate children to read
- To help children develop the foundational skills they need to become good readers
- To distribute books to children and encourage them to start home libraries
- To provide reading instruction for parents in family literacy programs
Over the years, the foundation collected numerous truckloads of books, uniforms, school supplies, toiletries and clothes for families devastated by Hurricane Katrina and other families in need. The Foundation also hosts a holiday event that provides books, toys, food and fun for at least 200 youth. Most recently, the Foundation formed a partnership with a Detroit-area hospital to create “wee Readers,” which provides newborns with their first book.
These efforts do not include Webber’s outreach efforts, which include serving on the Advisory Council for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, exhibiting his collection of African American artifacts and documents or his numerous appearances through NBA Cares.