Thursday, March 25, 2004

Center names spokeswoman

Vanessa Williams will represent Freedom museum

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Former Miss America Vanessa Williams was introduced Wednesday as a national spokeswoman for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center during a reception at Saks Fifth Avenue downtown.

Williams will speak in radio and television commercials for the Freedom Center and represent the museum at events around the country. She joins actor Danny Glover and Susan Taylor, editorial director of Essence magazine, in the role.

Williams, a successful singer and actress, said she became involved with the Freedom Center about two years ago while in Cincinnati for a Crest promotion at Procter & Gamble. Williams said she was drawn to the project by former Procter & Gamble chairman John Pepper's drive to see the museum built.

"To hear him talk about how passionate he was and how long he had been invested in the concept, I was very surprised and impressed," Williams said. "And as black Americans, we can't go without being touched by the journey and what those people went through," she said.

Williams, who said she may return to Cincinnati when the Freedom Center opens this summer, said she was impressed by the building and the fact that diverse companies constructed it.

"It gives you a great sense of pride to know that it was built by black hands," she said.


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