To mark the 60th anniversary of the trailblazing music label Motown, The Motown Museum in Detroit has unveiled a number of never-before-seen artefacts that show how the historic empire was started.
Motown Museum archivist David Ellis showed off a number of these items on the museum’s Facebook page including a copy of the $800 promissory note that was given to Berry Gordy Jr to start the company on 12 January 1959 and the original ledger from the Ber-Berry co-op, a family fund that was run by the Gordy family and used to start Motown.
These items and other rare selections will go on display at the museum starting on Saturday 12 January, marking the exact day when Mr Gordy received the loan that launched the company.
“This was not an ordinary family,” Ellis says in the clip. “This was full of business savvy people. Entrepreneurship ran through their veins. As small children, the importance of business was drilled inside of their heads.”
Ellis also showed the original minutes from a Ber-Berry co-op meeting that was held with the whole family including all eight children.
“We’re talking about the 1950s right now,” explains Ellis. “So for African American families in need of getting loans for a home or for college, it was very tough at that time. So what they had to do was start to their own businesses and that’s what the Gordy family did with the Ber-Berry Co-op, they had their own savings fund.”
This business mindset that was drilled into Mr Gordy at a young age influenced how he would run the Motown empire.
“It started young, it started with his family. Every family member played a vital role, everyone did their share, everyone did their part,” Ellis said.
Officials at the museum also hinted at future plans for more displays throughout the year to mark the anniversary, the AP reports.
The Motown Museum is located where Gordy launched his music empire, also known as Hitsville USA before the label decamped to California in 1972.
Visit the museum’s official website for more details.