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Welcome to the International African American Museum! Advanced timed tickets are required for all visitors. Popular dates and times may be sold out.

Follow the North Star: Freedom in the Age of Mobility

‘Follow the North Star: Freedom in the Age of Mobility,’ an immersive, multi-media experience that brings to life the vibrant journey towards freedom across the African Diaspora. This captivating exhibition, curated by James E. Bartlett, invites you to explore the enduring allure and elusive nature of ‘freedom’ through a dynamic and interactive journey.

Embark on a historical adventure that spans transportation, the epic Great Migration, and the realms of Spirituality/Imagination. From the daring escapades of cowboys moving out West, to the creative explosions of the Harlem Renaissance, and beyond the shores of the United States in a quest for liberation, this exhibition showcases the myriad ways African Americans have navigated and transformed their realities in pursuit of freedom.

Featuring stories of folklore, storytelling, and metaphysical travel, ‘Follow the North Star’ offers three unique perspectives on the African American liberation journey. Discover the incredible tales of resilience, creativity, and determination that have defined the quest for freedom, from the Back-to-Africa Movements to the Montgomery Bus Boycotts and the imaginative realms of Afrofuturism.

Don’t miss this inspiring exhibition that celebrates the spirit of adventure and the pursuit of freedom in the age of mobility. Your journey awaits!


President and CEO

Dr. Tonya M. Matthews

Chief Learning and Engagement Officer

Malika N. Pryor

Exhibition Curator

James E. Bartlett

Director of Exhibitions

Martina M. Morale

Exhibition Project Manager

Shante’ Cozier

Associate Curator

Isabelle Britto


Suzanne DiBella

Curatorial Assistant

Matthew Stevenson

Exhibition Scholar & Writer

LaShaya Howie, Ph.D

Exhibition Designer

Isissa Komada-John

Exhibition Graphic Designer

Isabella Natale

Film Editor 

Lonalie Cosep

Media Developer

Rolando Brown

Art Handlers

Todd Kelly, Caleb Nussear, Nick Rypkema, Jonathan Rypkema

Additional Support

Brian Knox, Billy Rampey, Evan Lampkin, Hasani Gabriel, Da’Juan Baysmore, Garry Venable, Ian Simon


ruby onyinyechi amanze, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Romare Bearden, Clara Bikales, ChakaiaBooker, Dan Concholar, Sahar Coston-Hardy, Kim Dacres, Damien Davis, Charles Gaines, Pierre-Christophe Gam, Palmer Cole Hayden, Myra Ivory,  Lois Mailou Jones, Cyrus Kabiru, Kajahl, Carl Latimer, Jacob Lawrence, Kenny Maro, Mongezi Ncaphayi, Esewhaye Oghenetejiri, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Richardson Ovbiebo, John Rhoden, Lucien Smith, Renée Stout, Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin, James Van Der Zee, William Villalongo, Carrie Mae Weems, Jade Yasmeen

Special Thanks to the IAAM Staff

Made possible through the generous funding of: