The Minnesota African American museum (MAAM) does not celebrate African American history solely for African Americans. We see MAAM history as Minnesota history; a museum celebrating and presenting African American history for all populations.
As Carl Rowan stated in 1961, it is men and women of African American descent, not anonymous forcesthat have contributed to advancing the historical landscape of Minnesota.
The impetus for the formation of this museum came from the founder, Roxanne Givens. According to Givens, the vision for having a repository for African American history came from the African American community. Many of the original voices felt not having a record of the many contributions African Americans made to Minnesota history and beyond , was a major impediment to community engagement, self-esteem and achievement. Never feeing grounded, or truly immersed in the social and civic fabric of the disparate communities in which some reside.
The need for a museum was so glaring~ a group of folks with a shared mission was established to pursue the possibilities. Pamela Tucker Coaxum, Bobby Moenck, Sharon Kennedy-Vickers, Harry Davis, Daniel Berg, Coventry Cowens, Retired Judge LaJune Lang, Seitu Jones, Dr. Josie Johnson, Elder Mahmoud El Kati, Robin Hickman, Shirlynn LaChapelle, and Robyn Sims- This group is today known as the MAAM Founders.
Discussion continued over several months; the founders were steadfast in their vision. We however needed a place to house our vision, real estate, to fulfill our mission of a sustainable History and Cultural museum of Local, National and International importance, recognized for excellence and innovation in museum practice and programs. MAAM would create engaging learning experiences; serve as a Community hub contributing on multiple levels to the Civic, educational, Cultural and Economic fabric of Minnesota. Like true destiny, one day, Roxanne Givens and Harry Davis quite by accident, came upon a glorious Queen Anne architectural gem, the "Coe Mansion."
It was for sale; a tour of the magnificent structure was arranged. Its' reuse was instantly clear: our museum. The rest as they say is history…"