More than 1,000 individuals, corporations and foundations have worked for almost 20 years to bring the International African American Museum into fruition, according to former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. And now they are ready to begin building it.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the museum is scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 25 at 10 Wharfside St. in Charleston.
“The groundbreaking ceremony will give us an opportunity to express our deepest appreciation to the donors, volunteers and supporters who have worked so hard to get us to this milestone,” Riley said in a news release.
He first announced plans to build the museum in his State of the City address in 2000.
According to the release, the International African American Museum will illuminate the story of enslaved Africans’ journey from West Africa to Charleston, the hardship and cruelty they endured, plus their contributions to America.
The museum and a memorial garden will honor the site where enslaved Africans arrived in Charleston; tell narratives that have been overlooked in most history books; and promote compassion and empathy across all races.
“We are also excited for the community to come together in the spirit of praise and thanksgiving to mark the beginning of a new journey that will culminate in the opening of the International African American Museum,” said, Elijah Heyward III, Museum COO said.