Pathways to Freedom in the Americas:

Shared Experiences between Michigan, USA and Guerrero, México

The “Pathways to Freedom in the Americas” was developed by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Inc., Southfield, Michigan, USA, through its Education Committee. The project is an international effort through the partnership with Museo de Las Culturas Afromestizas in Cuajiniculapa, Guerrero, México and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan, USA.  Collaborating Organizations are: Wayne State University, Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies; Marygrove College; Eastern Michigan University Library; Matrix, Human Services; Southfield Field Zone Community Center; and the Southfield Public Library.  In Mexico: Mexico Negro A.C. (Black Mexican Civic Assn.); Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Unidad de Turismo de Zihuatanejo; and PBP México International Marketing & Communications.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Inc. (MLK Task Force) Southfield, Michigan is the primary sponsor of the exhibit.  The organization is a non-profit, tax exempt organization, in existence since 1986.  The mission of the organization is to commemorate and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and honor and sustain his teachings and works.

The MLK Task Force recognizes the significance of this part of history because Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a global view of peace that ties all people together in friendship and brotherhood.  MLK Task Force President Barbara Seldon stated, “This project tells the story of a significant part of African and Méxican history that needs to be recognized, researched and acknowledged. The rich African culture is alive and strong in México in areas such as Costa Chica and Veracruz, but it has been ignored or forgotten.  Yet, the African culture had an impact throughout all of México.  Lack of acknowledgement of one’s history makes it difficult to take pride in one’s heritage. I am sure there are many African Americans and Mexicans, living in Michigan, who would sincerely appreciate knowing about this forgotten or ignored part of their heritage.”

Project Manager Barbara Talley stated, “This exhibit culminates over a year of research, building relationships both in the Metropolitan area of Detroit and abroad with universities, committee members, and volunteers.  The result of the work can be seen in the exhibit, its unique illustrations and photos, bilingual text, and graphics.  The educational aspect of the exhibit is beneficial to all who want to expand their knowledge of American and Mexican history and culture. It is hoped that by sharing this history of both countries, it will help to build better intercultural and international relations.”

This project is very unique because of the direct work and collaboration with Mexican organizations and with the Hispanic communities.  It focuses specifically onMichigan’s African Americans and Mexicans and their shared history that needs to be unfolded. The exhibit will provide an opportunity to contribute to the expansion of the Underground Railroad repertoire of slave migration.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Inc.

Patricia Haynie, President

Tracey Payne-Tellis, Corresp. Secretary

Robin Dillard-Russaw, Esq., 1st Vice President

Barbara Seldon, Treasurer

Dedra Hobbs, 2nd Vice President

Sharon Kelly-Person, Recording Secretary

Daniel Brightwell, Financial Manager




 The Michigan Humanities Council

The exhibit is made possible in part by a grant form Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force. Inc.

DTE Energy Foundation

PBP Mexico Marketing & Communications

St. John Providence Health System

MGM Grand Detroit

Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Torch of Wisdom Foundation, Inc.

Anthony T. Chambers, Chambers & Associates

AKA Sorority, Inc. Pi Tau Omega Chapter

Hacienda Mexican Foods




Lynne Scully: Lead Researcher. Master of Labor Industrial Relations,MichiganStateUniversity. Major Field of study: Organization Development. Certification, Teacher’s College.  Twenty (20) years of experience as a project planner.  Areas of Expertise: Anthropology, history, humanities, psychology and sociology.

Joseph W. Cote: Bachelor of Arts -History; Masters of ArtsTeaching, Secondary Education; Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan; Certified History Teacher at Temporary School Staff; Languages – Spanish and English.

Talia Weltman-Cisneros: Professor at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, Department of Classical & Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Research-Dissertation based on research conducted in Mexico (Costa Chica Region); Conference/event organizer, “The African Presence & Persistence in Mexico: Memory & Modernity by Padre Glyn Jemmott” “(Duke University, 2008).

Dr. José Ceullo: Associate Professor of History, Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.  A specialist in Colonial Latin America. Some of his areas of research and teaching include the formation of ethnic and racialized identities resulting from the admixture of Europeans Native Americans and Africans.

Barbara Seldon – Master of Arts- Education Administration; University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry; Expertise in Education, science/society, and issue of diversity and inclusion.

David L.  Ewick: Master of Library Science;City of Southfield, Michigan Librarian; Areas of Expertise: Communications, Humanities and Psychology; Facilitator/moderator for the Fulton County Leadership Academy.

Rhonda Fowler: Master of Library Science, Technology Management; Reference Librarian, Eastern Michigan University.

Dr. Lourdes I. Torres-Monaghan: Associate Professor of Modern Languages, Department of English & Modern Languages, Marygrove College, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.


Patricia Ann Talley: Master of Business Administration-Marketing, University of Michigan, Whitney M. Young, Jr. Fellow of Economic Development. Twenty (20) years of marketing management experience in the USA; 15 years of in-field research in México.  Director of PBP Mexico Marketing & Communications; Editor of English magazine to promote education and cultural awareness of Mexico.  Resides in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, México.

William H. Tucker: Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. Twenty-five (25) years of experience in municipal economic development.  Fifteen (15) years of in-field research in Mexico studying historical, cultural and social aspects; 8 years teaching bi-lingual vocational training courses in Mexico.  General Director of PBP Mexico Marketing & Communications; Publisher of English magazine to promote education and cultural awareness of México.  Resides in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, México.

Candelaria Donají Méndez Tello: Master of Business Administration in Tourism Development, Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Acapulco, Guerrero, México.   Professor of Tourism Development at Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Facultad de Turismo, Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, México.  Postgraduate research has been dedicated to African-Mexican history and culture, its conservation and public education and political recognition. Originally from Cuajinicuilapa, Guerrero in the Costa Chica Region, she now resides in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, México.

Hugo M. Bretón Cervera: Master of Business Administration and Master of Engineering, University of Michigan. President of the University of Michigan Alumni Club of Mexico.  Strategic Planner with Banamex Bank, México City, México.  Languages: Spanish, English and conversational French

Carlos Irra: Master of Business Administration, Tourism Development, Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, México.  Manager of Guest Relations at Club Intrawest, Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, México.  Civic activities include past participation in international/cross-cultural exchange programs with the Detroit area.

Marco A. Gijón Rojas: General Manager, Holiday Inn, Ixtapa, Guerrero, México.

Rosalba Vizcarro de Giors: Bachelor of Arts, Art Director

Grace Relfe:  Bachelor of Arts, Photography


Exhibit Committee Members – Michigan, U.S.A.

Barbara Talley, Project Director

Joscelyn Andrews-Davis, Publicity

Lynne Scully, Planner/Secretary

Lois L.Williams, Ph.D., Educator/Author

Delores Flagg, Art Director

Daniel Brightwell, Fiscal Agent

Dorothy J. Dean, Esq., Legal Advisor

Patrina Chatman, Curator of Exhibitions

Rod Toneye, Community Liaison

Kevin Davidson, Director of Design Fabrication


Web Development

Southfield Multimedia Services 



Contact us to have the Pathways to Freedom Exhibit displayed at your school, organization or business.