Terri Lee Freeman

President of National Civil Rights Museum


Terri Lee Freeman was appointed president of the National Civil Rights Museum in November 2014. As president, Freeman is responsible for providing strategic leadership in furthering the museum’s mission as an educational and cultural institution.

In addition to updating the organization’s vision and mission, Freeman has placed her emphasis on building the museum’s reputation as the new public square.  While stewarding the integrity of the Museum’s historic content, Freeman has expanded the public programming to increasingly focus on contemporary civil and human rights issues such as criminal justice, education, and basic human rights for marginalized populations.  A safe space for difficult conversations, Freeman created “Unpacking Racism for Action” a six-month dialogue program to go deep into issues of implicit bias and structural racism. Through her collaborative approach to the work, she has increased the public engagement four-fold, with visitors to public programs increasing exponentially, more than 300 percent.

Prior to joining the Museum, Ms. Freeman served as president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region for 18 years.  She distinguished herself for her community building, and her ability to grow the Foundation’s reputation as an effective and strategic funder in the metropolitan DC region.

Her intense passion for the nonprofit sector and community was nurtured while serving as the founding executive director of the Freddie Mac Foundation, at the time, one of the five largest corporate foundations in the metropolitan Washington region.

A frequently sought after speaker, Ms. Freeman lives by the saying that what’s most important is what people say about you when you aren’t in the room.

Freeman received her bachelor’s degree in journalism/communication arts from the University of Dayton and her Master's degree in organizational communications from Howard University.  She is married to Dr. Bowyer G. Freeman and is the proud mother of three daughters and grandmother of two.