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This year's masquerade-themed gala honors nine Detroiters for their work

The Wright Museum's annual gala brings in funds for important community programming

This year's masquerade-themed gala honors nine Detroiters for their work

With over a half of a century’s worth of education under it’s belt, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History gears up for its signature fundraiser. 

The Wright Gala will be held on Saturday, October 5th in the museum’s beautiful Ford Freedom Rotunda. The masquerade themed event is the museum’s biggest fundraiser. This year, Co-chair and former Wright Museum COO Tyrone Davenport is excited to bring in major funds for the public, educational and literacy programming. 

“I am very pleased to say that this year we anticipate 75-80 percent of the money we bring in will come to the bottom line and be used to support those educational programs,” Davenport said. He and his wife, Linda Forte, along with two other chairs have been hard at work to put the gala together. 

With tickets at $350 apiece, guests will indulge in fine foods from over 20 local restaurants and music from local artists. During the program, local titans of service will be honored for their dedication to the Charles H. Wright. Honorees include: Will and Lynett Cooper, Retha and Walter Douglas, Alma and Edward Greer, Roy and Maureen Roberts and the Honorable Judge Craig S. Strong. These nine men and women will receive honor and praise not only for their monetary donations but their acts of volunteerism and service to the museum. Once the program concludes, guests will be asked to remove their masks and according to Davenport, “the party will really start.”

Davenport’s involvement with the museum dates back to the 1960s when the museum first opened. “I met Dr. Charles Wright, who is a fraternity brother of mine, Omega Psi Phi fraternity,” he said. “He got me involved and I stayed involved one way or the other.” Davenport has held board positions at the museum and when tough times hit, he was elevated to Chief Operating Officer. 

“I like to tell the story that they told me to take a 90 day contract which turned out into 13 years.”

During his 13-year tenure, Davenport has seen major staffing changes and sat on the recruitment team that hired Juanita Moore as Chief Executive Officer. “Juanita came to the museum with a great vision and quite a few great ideas to move the museum forward,” he said. 

To Davenport, the gala is more than a big party; it’s a way to honor the legacy of Dr. Wright and to further the museum’s mission. The Wright Museum currently houses over 35,000 artifacts and archives. It is the place where the late Aretha Franklin and many others laid in state. Before the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington D.C., the Wright Museum held the title of largest African American historical museum in the country. 

Tickets for the Wright Gala 2019 Masquerade Ball are available at thewrightgala.org