Taking a drive down memory lane is a way to connect to the past, and much like a photograph, visiting historical landmarks can stir emotions and educate the next generation.
In February, Toyota (No. 34 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) teamed up with the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) to help raise awareness of America’s often overlooked yet not so hidden historic African American treasures, for a road show to three states and contribution to help restore endangered, iconic African American sites.
“The National Trust for Historic Preservation couldn’t be more pleased that when Toyota says, “let’s go places” it also means the historic places we care about,” said Marita Rivero, chairman of the board of trustees, National Trust for Historic Preservation. “ We believe there is no more powerful way to learn about who we are and where we are headed than from the very places where history happened. It is an honor to receive this generous donation from Toyota to further our efforts in ensuring that the full breadth of the American story is told.”
The road trip included such sites as:
- Villa Lewaro – Madam C.J. Walker’s mansion located in Irvington, New York: As the first-ever female millionaire in the United States, Walker’s palatial estate serves as a symbol of a time when an African American woman succeeded against the odds. The mansion is one of the key preservation projects for the NTHP.
- Mother Bethel A.M.E. church in Philadelphia: the spiritual foundation of the African American’s plight
- Harlem: a walking tour featuring sites that played an integral role in the Civil Rights movement
“We are proud to be a part of protecting cultural treasures for present and future generations to enjoy, preserving places that tell America’s rich history,” said Adrienne Trimble, general manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Toyota Motor North America. “These historical sites help showcase the many contributions African Americans have made to the rich tapestry of America. It’s important that we maintain them so that we can visit and discover our history.”
The Black History Month road trip concluded with a visit to the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in Washington, D.C. last September. Toyota is one of the museum’s founding sponsors.
Toyota also has sponsored the National Archives to preserve important documents, including the GI Bill of Rights and House Passage of the Bill of Rights. Most recently, Toyota donated funds to advance programing at the Museum of Mississippi History and assist the creation of the Toyota Civil Rights Gallery at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.