Interactive Biography! Speak with civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., A.I.
Thursdays at 2:00pm
Included with Museum admission.
Reservations required 24 hours in advance.
Using state-of-the-art technology, the Museum partnered with StoryFile to capture the courageous life story of Cleveland icon and civil rights activist Reverend Dr. Otis Moss Jr, as an Interactive Conversational Biography. An artificial intelligence (AI) version of Rev. Moss can answer audience questions in real time, mimicking an actual conversation.
Watch Rev. Moss and his wife Edwina see his Interactive Biography for the first time.
Watch a conversation with Museum founder, Milton Maltz and founding board member, Rev Dr Otis Moss Jr.
About the Interactive Biography of Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr.
In June 2021, the Maltz Museum collaborated with founding board member and legendary civil rights activist Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., to be filmed in Cleveland by StoryFile, a production company that specializes in conversational video digital storytelling. Through advanced filming techniques, specialized display technologies, and natural language processing, the experiences of Rev. Moss were preserved in a format that will allow audiences to interact with his image as if he were present in the room with them.
To inform the process of capturing Rev. Moss’s memories, the Maltz Museum engaged the services of a content consultant, scholar Dr. Sharon Milligan of Case Western Reserve University, to formulate questions and pursue themes relevant to Rev. Moss’s life that will engage audiences of all ages, with a particular focus on his life-long work for civil rights in the United States.
Rev. Moss’s recorded answers were processed through StoryFile’s proprietary artificial intelligence program, and his interactive biography is preserved on their platform. Equipment including an HD monitor, speakers, microphone, local computer, and Ethernet connection are installed at the Maltz Museum for beta testing of the interactive biography by staff, volunteer docents, and visitors to refine its ability to respond appropriately to questions.
After beta testing, through the collaboration of the Museum’s staff and the StoryFile team, the interactive biography will be permanently installed at the Museum by early 2023. Visitors for generations to come will be able to see Rev. Moss in high definition, hear his voice, absorb his eyewitness accounts of history, and draw inspiration from his courage and commitment to nonviolent change.
About Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr.
“Otis Moss is a bridge to a glorious part of American history in ways that nobody else is. He’s that transition from the 1950s and the civil rights era to the hip-hop generation that his son now embodies. Nobody can tell those stories firsthand like he can.” —The Rev. Marvin McMickle, former pastor of Cleveland’s Antioch Baptist Church (Now at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School)
Born in rural Georgia and orphaned at 16, Moss attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and a Master of Divinity degree. He absorbed the nonviolent civil rights message at Morehouse, learned from college President Benjamin Mays, and befriended the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Moss helped lead sit-ins at lunch counters and public buildings, pushing for desegregation.
In 1954, he became a pastor. Moss served at several Baptist churches in Lagrange, Georgia, and Atlanta until 1961, when he became pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in the Cincinnati area. He marched with Dr. King in Selma and Washington, and in 1971 took a break from Mount Zion to co-pastor Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church with the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. In 1974, Moss moved to Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, then Ohio’s largest black church, with a membership roster of community leaders.
Well connected to preachers and politicians, Moss continues to be a sought-after speaker and influential figure in social justice movements: he was an advisor to President Jimmy Carter, befriended such figures as Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Jesse Jackson, and inspired Oprah Winfrey to speak at—and donate to—Cuyahoga Community College. Moss has repeatedly been named one of America’s most influential black preachers by Ebony Magazine. Now in his nineties, he continues to preach and lecture around the U.S. and the world.
Rev. Moss is a Maltz Museum Board Trustee Emeritus and a long-time supporter of its mission to teach diversity and inclusion.