Emory Biko, Founder and President of
"The Museum of the African’s Experience In America."
Interview conducted by Granderson Glenn II
Emory Biko is the founding director of THE MUSEUM OF THE AFRICAN’S EXPERIENCE IN AMERICA. Born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1958, he grew up in the Hill District and graduated from Schenley High School in 1975.
As an artist and educator, Biko continuously creates his two and three dimensional artworks based on his African heritage and personal experiences. He exhibits his artworks nationally and also travels the country extensively, adding to the museums ever expanding collection.
The Museum of the African’s Experience In America is on display till February 13th @ Foreland Street Studios, 518 Foreland Street on Pittsburgh’s Northside. For directions please call 412-321-8664.
What influenced you to start collecting Black history and memorabilia items?
Biko: The love and respect for the Black Panther Party influenced me. As a child I learned about racism and police brutality. Then, I heard about a group of brothers from California who were opposing the police dept. I heard the brothers were walking around with guns and law books. The fact that they had law books influenced me to want to be intelligent. I was always in trouble when I was younger, but after learning about the Black Panther Party I began reading and wanting to be a lawyer. Prior to that I was wasting a lot of time watching TV. After learning about the Black Panther Party, I was always reading articles in Times Magazine and in Newsweek. I even went to the Army & Navy store on Liberty Avenue to purchase a field jacket like the members of the Black Panther Party.
How long have you been collecting?
Biko: I have been seriously collecting since 1995. That was when I moved back to Pittsburgh from Omaha Nebraska. In Omaha I did volunteer work at The Black Americana Historical Museum and the Black Rainbow Art Gallery.
What influenced you to create a museum?
Biko: It was a brother who owned both the museum and gallery. As a matter or fact he owned the entire block where the museum and gallery where located. He also owned a hair salon. Seeing him owing that, let me know that owning a museum was possible. It gave me the courage to believe I could create and own one.
How long has your museum been in existence?
Biko: The museum has been in existence since 1997. By 1997 I had collected enough items to create a display. The first exhibiting of the museum was in 2000 at Penn State New Kensington campus. The next was at the Kingsley Association.
Do you have any plans for a permanent location to display the museum?
Biko: Not plans, but dreams. It all starts as dreams. I don’t have the money to make that move yet. If I keep at it the money will come.
How may individuals or organizations contact you for information about having the museum exhibited?
Biko: I can be contacted by phone @ 412-363-4646. My website is currently still
Is there anything you would like for people to know about you or the museum?
Biko: I would like for people to know that I love what I am doing. People should know that I am very thankful for having the opportunity to do what I am doing and I will continue doing it.