A personal challenge grant issued last winter by philanthropist and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele helped to raise more than $477,000 for America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) at 401 W. North Avenue in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville African American Cultural and Entertainment District. At the campaign launch, Abele pledged to match donations dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000.
The challenge match was part of a $400,000 goal to complete the initial development funding for the museum’s $1.5 million construction and opening exhibits. The campaign exceeded this goal by $77,000, with 90% of donations coming from new donors. The museum is currently fundraising to develop and sustain operations and programming.
“With the reopening of America’s Black Holocaust Museum, we open up opportunities for residents and visitors to walk through the history of race relations in this country and better understand how the harmful legacy of slavery still directly ties into the racial disparities prevalent today,” said Abele. “Race is not an issue we can afford to ignore right now, and I want to thank everyone who joined me in donating to this worthwhile cause and making this a reality. Only together can we learn from our history and build a future where every resident in every neighborhood benefits.”
Individuals, foundations, businesses, faith-based organizations, and community groups helped fundraise to support Abele’s match. More than $100,000 was raised by the museum’s Inaugural Legacy Circle, whose members comprise several of Milwaukee’s African-American community leaders: Stephen P. Adams and Thelma A. Sias, Jackie and Michael Barber, Cecelia Gore and Randy Bryant, Drs. Minnie and LaRoyce Chambers, John Daniels and Valerie Daniels Carter Charitable Trust, Charles and Cheryl Harvey, George and Michelle Ford Hinton, Ralph and Margaret Hollmon, Cory and Michelle Nettles, Larry and Adrienne Waters, and Lisa and Greg Wesley.
“The museum closing in 2008 was a huge loss for our total community,” said Jackie. “So when my husband Michael and I had the opportunity to join with other African American community leaders to support its reopening, we did not hesitate. Milwaukee and the nation need an institution that helps to educate everyone, especially our youth, on the history of race relations in America.”
Abele’s challenge culminated on what would have been the 105th birthday of museum founder Dr. James Cameron, who passed away in 2006 at age 92. Abele issued a Proclamation designating February 25, 2019 “Dr. James Cameron Day” throughout Milwaukee County.
For more information on the museum, fundraising, or other opportunities, please visit www.abhmuseum.org, call 414-374-5353, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT ABHM and DR. JAMES CAMERON LEGACY FOUNDATION, INC. Dr. James Cameron founded ABHM in 1988. He survived a brutal 1930 lynching in Marion, IN when he was just 16 years old. Dr. Cameron went on to devote his life to civil rights and promoting a just and peaceful society. He founded ABHM to teach others about the forgotten history and harmful legacy of slavery, as well as promote racial repair, reconciliation, and healing. The museum closed its doors in 2008, two years after Dr. Cameron’s passing in 2006.
The new museum is built upon the same footprint as its predecessor on the corner of Vel R. Phillips Ave. (formerly 4th St.) and North Ave. Like the original museum, the new ABHM will include exhibits on African people before captivity, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, auction blocks, the civil rights movement (both past and present), as well as local and national civil rights leaders. One of the primary goals of the museum is to share the under-told stories that are an integral part of U.S. history. The new museum is a program of the nonprofit Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation, which was founded in 2012 by friends and supporters of Dr. James Cameron to continue his legacy. Its mission is to build public awareness of the harmful legacies of slavery in America and promote racial repair, reconciliation, and healing. We envision a society that remembers its past in order to shape a better future – a nation undivided by race where every person matters equally. The new physical museum will complement the existing virtual museum (www.abhmuseum org), which was created to share Dr. Cameron’s story and museum exhibits to a broader national and international audience. Millions of visitors from over 200 countries visit ABHM’s Virtual Museum annually.
For more information and to donate, visit https://abhmuseum.org/support/