Nearly half of all the slaves arriving in the U.S. from Africa arrived in Charleston, and many of those debarked at the planned site for the International African American Museum. Michael Moore, President and CEO of the museum shared a bit of the history of slavery in Charleston and the unique history of the site for the museum, Gadsen’s Wharf. Mr. Moore described the wharf as Ellis Island for slaves, without a welcoming Statue of Liberty, and it’s a fitting location for the $100 million museum that is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2020.
Mr. Moore discussed the overall vision of the museum as well as the assets that it will bring to the City and the African American community. The museum will include a “Center for Family History”, an essential resource since so few records exist of slave genealogy prior to 1870. There will also be classrooms and learning environments for students of all ages. The museum is nearly fully funded, with the last major contribution to come from the state of South Carolina. Mr. Moore praised the vision of former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and other individuals in the Charleston community who have supported the museum since the idea was conceived almost two decades ago.
Mr. Moore is married, the father of four sons and lives in Mt. Pleasant. He is a descendant of Robert Smalls, who as a slave in the Civil War commandeered a Confederate transport ship in Charleston harbor, ran the Confederate blockade, and turned the ship over to Union forces.
More information about the museum can be found online at www.iaamuseum.org.
-Submitted by Thad Peterson