A new, multi-year project at the Detroit Historical Museum will showcase the stories of Detroit’s Black entrepreneurs, linking contemporary business owners to the pioneers who set their course in a series of exhibits and public programming.
The Hustle is the Detroit Historical Society’s newest community engagement and exhibition project following in the footsteps of the Detroit67 project. Incorporating large-scale photography by Detroit photographers, oral histories, museum exhibits and events, public programming, school tours, and a resource summit, this program strives to serve the unsung community members whose contributions are not always recognized through programming, exhibits and events.
Through The Hustle the society will document the history of Black Detroit businesses who are the backbone of their neighborhoods.
“Our mission is to tell Detroit’s stories and why they matter,” says Elana Rugh, CEO of the Detroit Historical Society. “No story is too big, or too small for our museums and we often say our goal is that our visitors will see themselves somewhere in our halls or on our walls. The Hustle will do that in a way that no other project ever has, and we are excited to celebrate these stories in our museum.”
The Hustle is sponsored by The Gilbert Family Foundation, Toyota Motor North America, and AAA/The Auto Club Group. Additional funding was provided by Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.
“Toyota is proud to support this program showcasing the many Detroit Black unsung entrepreneurs that make this city thrive,” says Alva Adams Mason, group manager of multicultural business alliance and strategy and multicultural dealer relations at Toyota Motor North America. “Toyota is focused on creating opportunities for all as we celebrate the differences that make us all unique and ensure not just a seat at the table, but a ticket to the party and a spot in the driver’s seat. The Detroit Historical Society’s The Hustle is aligned to our mission of shining a light on building a marketplace with limitless possibilities for all.”
Jasmin DeForrest, director of arts and culture for the Gilbert Family Foundation, says, “Detroit’s entrepreneurs, especially our Black entrepreneurs, are the backbone upon which this city was built. We are grateful to the Detroit Historical Museum for lifting up their voices and their stories for the world to hear.”
To identify Detroit entrepreneurs that exemplify The Hustle, the society is crowdsourcing nominations throughout May and June. Nominations can be made through the website, on paper ballots available at the Detroit Historical Museum, and at neighborhood community meetings and town halls where The Hustle will be discussed.