FAMU welcomes the “African American Treasures” Kinsey Collection

Couresy of Lewis Museum

The national award-winning Kinsey Collection has come to Florida A&M.

FAMU hosted the “African American Treasure” exhibit reception, presented by Toyota in FAMU’s Grand Ballroom Saturday. The Kinsey Collection is one of the largest private collections of African-American art spanning back 400 years.

The reception was a launch for the opening of The Kinsey Collection national tour at Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery. As well as acknowledging the sponsors and contributors who made the tour possible.

James Colon, VP of African-American Business Strategy at Toyota, was in attendance as well. “If you have not seen it, you’re in for a real treat,” Colon said when introducing the collection. “What you will see and what you will hear about us, you’ve probably never heard in school.”

Khalil Kinsey spoke on the relationship the Kinsey family and Toyota has built throughout the years, referring to them as family.

“Toyota has supported us for many years, this is not our first rodeo together. Actually, our first exhibit in Los Angeles, was sponsored by Toyota,” Kinsey said.

The collection is the recipient of three national awards including the President’s national award for Museum and Library Services. Over the last 10 years, the collection has been on display in 18 different exhibits being viewed by more than three million visitors.

“This year, we’re taking it international. We’re taking black history, African-American history which is American history, to Hong Kong to our first international museum,” Shirley Kinsey said.

Mrs. Kinsey shared that The Kinsey Collection will expand Black History Month this year at FAMU. It is starting early on January 23 and ending late on March 25. She urges the community of FAMU to be ambassadors for the exhibit because “its mission is to educate, motivate, and inspire,” Kinsey said.

Khalil Kinsey stated that “this is important not because it heirs the name Kinsey, not because Toyota is attached to it, it’s important because this is our history. This is a product of FAMU. This will aid in your success.”

With Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery being the first host of the new tour, Khalil hopes this will help spotlight on the gallery and FAMU to help President Elmira Mangum’s mission: that FAMU’s students understand the value of research.

“The Kinsey family and its legacy that they’re leaving Florida A&M University is unparalleled, and I think you all know that and will enjoy that,” Mangum said.    

Bernard W. Kinsey closed out the reception with his final remarks encouraging everyone to lend a hand to those in need as done to us in our time of need.

“Now, if you see a turtle on a post, he had help; everyone of us got help. We couldn’t be where we are if we hadn’t gotten help. And the way to help the black community, in my opinion, is to leave the door open and the ladder down,” Kinsey said. “We’re about community building and making our community stronger.”