Fundraising and planning continues for the proposed International African American Museum in downtown Charleston.
CEO Michael Moore said the organization is now in the private fundraising part of the campaign. “We’re in the middle of the private end of it and we got to go raise about $12 million more,” he said. “It’s a $100 million project.”
The city of Charleston donated the real estate where the museum will be located on the waterfront near what was once Gadsden’s Wharf. The site is significant as the wharf was once the point for slave ships to bring enslaved Africans into South Carolina and the United States. Moore said estimates are that roughly 100,000 West Africans arrived as unwilling New World immigrants through the Charleston wharf, nearly half of all African captives.
Moore said the museum will present the largely undertold experiences and contributions of Americans of African descent. It’s scheduled to open in early 2020. Leaders also announced plans for a new Center for Family History housed inside the museum. The new center will offer genealogy, archives and DNA testing to help those interested in tracking down potential ancestors.
Most of the money raised so far has come from the state of South Carolina, which has pledged $25 million through various pledges. However, state House budgetwriters have indicated they will not continue with further funding until more private donations are secured. AT&T announced last week it will donate $250,000 to the museum.