Feature Image: Post and Courier
Last Tuesday, July 16 the Charleston City Council unanimously voted to approve a total of $60.2 million to start construction on Charleston’s International African American Museum.
The vote comes after years of planning and fundraising, which was a success in itself. Over $90 million was raised in support of the museum along with contributions from several donors including the city of Charleston.
Since 2000, former Charleston Mayor, Joseph Riley has been working to build an internationally recognized museum on Charleston’s waterfront at Gadsden’s Wharf. This site is specifically important to the African American community as it marks the place where more enslaved African Americans arrived and were sold in the U.S. than any other location in the country.
As reported by the Post & Courier, shortly before Tuesday’s vote, Riley said, “It’s a very exciting moment in the history of the museum and our community.”
However, even with all of the support, there are still community members who are against the current building design. The group goes by the name “Citizens Want Excellence at IAAM” and is opposed to the current building design of the museum. They feel it should be changed to “reflect specific elements of African and African American culture,” and are also concerned with how the narrative of enslavement will be told at the museum.
Michael Moore, the museum’s first president, and CEO, has been heavily involved in the planning and fundraising as well to prepare for the museum’s groundbreaking. A formal groundbreaking ceremony is expected to take place in October of this year with a museum opening in 2021.