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Designing the Black American Cultural Costume

June 23, 2024 · 3 p.m.
Garden House

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Join artist and historical interpreter Cheyney McKnight in exploring her creative process in designing garments in 18th- and 19th-century European American silhouettes using fabrics that speak to experiences from throughout the African diaspora.  McKnight will share how the clothing she designs helps to tell the stories of Black Americans in the past, present and future. Guests will be able to see a few garments on display for this presentation.

Registration is now open! Tickets are $25/person, with discounted rates available for members and students.


Cheyney McKnight is the owner of Not Your Momma’s History, a public history consulting business that aids museums and historical sites in talking about the African experience within 18th and 19th century America. Not Your Momma’s History also runs a YouTube channel with over 200,000 subscribers and four million views that shows the day-to-day lives of Black people throughout American history.

Cheyney has taken her “Let’s Talk About Slavery” table to over 30 parks, historical sites, and public events across America to provide a safe place for people to learn and talk about the history of slavery. She provides handouts to encourage people to further their education beyond that one interaction.

In 2021 Cheyney was chosen to be an African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Fellow for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Her project, titled The Ancestor’s Future: An Afrofuturist Journey Through History, was both a piece of performance art and a conversation inspired by Afrofuturism about the future of historic preservation on former sites of enslavement. Cheyney uses clothing designs that meld modern textiles that speak to the Black experience in America with 18th and 19th century silhouettes. 

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