CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Mayor John Tecklenburg gave former mayor Joe Riley a thumbs up as Charleston City Council approved the next step towards the construction of the International African American Museum.
It’s heading for a place that’s been called ‘ground zero’ of the African American experience, Gadsen’s Wharf. It’s the place where about half of all enslaved Africans arrived in North America.
“This dream has taken about 18 years and we are ready, with your support, to begin the act of constructing the museum,” said Joe Riley, former Mayor of Charleston and an IAAM board member.
The team behind the museum was able to make a special announcement not too long ago.
“You may have heard a couple of weeks ago, we announced that we had finally reached our fundraising goal that allows us to come here and be with you today,” said Michel Moore, President and CEO of the IAAM.
The goal was $75 million. With the money from various donors in hand, the team was ready to move onto the next step. They asked Council for approval for the construction manager to be awarded the contract to begin getting bids.
Also shown at the meeting Tuesday were renderings for the design. We’ve seen the outside of the building, but this was one of the first looks of how the inside structure is imagined.
Not only will the museum help to honor and memorialize those who were forced to enter the country here in Charleston, but it will also bring an economic boost to the city. A study shows that boost will be to the tune of around $125 million per year.