Founder, wife, mother, author, attorney and so much more, Dr. Roberta Hughes Wright is the true example of excellence. Dr. Wright is one of the original founders and shareholders First Independence Bank in Detroit.
The bank, Wright said, was created out of necessity as a result of the racial climate of that time and how it affected the African American community in every way conceivable.
“The mood just after the ’67 riots was volatile. It was difficult for us in many ways. We all just wanted to be able to thrive. Open businesses, buy homes and take care of our families,” Dr. Wright said. “We didn’t know how to start a bank, but we knew it was what we had to do.”
Founded in 1970, First Independence Bank is a Detroit-based black-owned bank and one of 28 black-owned banks in the United States.
Professionally, Dr. Hughes Wright worked as an attorney at her own law firm and practiced law for decades. Dr. Wright’s passion for the African American community inspired her to research and publish several books including “Reflections, My Life”, an autobiography. In Reflections, Wright takes readers on a journey from having a radiologist father child to being the wife of a doctor and activist.
Dr. Wright is the wife of the late Dr. Charles H. Wright, renowned obstetrician and gynecologist and founder of Detroit’s first African American history museum, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. In 1965, Wright opened the International Afro-American Museum in the Detroit row house where he lived and worked. He worked tirelessly to keep the museum open and invested his own money and research in order for the museum to be both a cultural and educational resource for the community.
“I’d bring healthy babies into the world and I’d see them later and they’d be psychologically scarred,” Wright said in 1997. “I saw we had to do something about society and the museum was an effort to do that.
In honor of the great legacy of Dr. Charles H. Wright, the museum was renamed to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in 1998. The museum is home to the largest collection of African American artifacts in the world.
“The present museum houses over 20,000 artifacts and archival materials,” Dr. Hughes Wright said.
In addition to carrying on her husbands’ legacy, Dr. Hughes Wright’s tireless work has paved the way for generations to come.