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John E. Fleming, PhD

Director Emeritus, Cincinnati Museum Center
Executive Producer, "America I Am"

John Fleming graduated from Berea College, Berea, Kentucky, in 1966. He attended the University of Kentucky and the University of Malawi before graduating from Howard University with a PhD in American History in 1974. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi from 1967-69. He also served as a program analyst for the United States Civil Rights Commission and was a senior fellow for the Institute for the Study of Educational Policy at Howard University.

In 1980, he was invited to join the Ohio Historical Society as Project Director for the development of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, Wilberforce, Ohio. The museum opened in 1988 with Dr. Fleming as founding director. In 1998, he served as the Director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. From 2001 to 2007, he served as Vice President of Museums at Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, where he oversaw the operations of the History, Natural History, and Children’s Museums, as well as the Cincinnati Historical Society Library, the Geier Collections & Research Center, and the Edge of Appalachia Nature Preserve. Dr. Fleming is now Executive Producer for “America I Am: African American Imprint on America,” a 12,000 sq. ft. traveling exhibition.

Dr. Fleming has published three books and over 45 articles and chapters in books. He has served as President of the Ohio Museums Association of African American Museums and on the board of dozens of organizations, including the American Association of Museums. He was awarded lifetime achievement and distinguished service awards by the Ohioana Library, Ohio Museums Association, Berea College, and the National Peace Corps.

Dr. Fleming was named by the governor of Ohio to serve as a delegate to the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism and to serve as a member of the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board. He was appointed by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior to serve on the National Underground Railroad Advisory Commission. President George W. Bush named him to the National Museum of African American History and Culture Presidential Commission.

He is married to Barbara Fleming, a psychologist and author. They have two daughters.

Experience the Exhibit

The Color in Freedom Event and Activities were co-sponsored by University of Maryland University College and the David C. Driskell Center.

David C. Driskell Center