CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP/WCSC) - A $75 million International African American Museum is now planned for Charleston near an area where tens of thousands of slaves once arrived in the city.
Mayor Joe Riley and museum organizers announced Wednesday the latest plans for the museum first proposed a decade ago.
"The time has come. The story is important to be told, and Charleston and South Carolina has an opportunity and a responsibility to tell the story."
Riley says money for the project will come from the city, county and state as well as private contributions. The city will contribute $12.5 million. The 42,300 square foot building will be built near the South Carolina Aquarium. The museum will chronicle the story of the hundreds-of-thousands of slaves who came through Gadsden's Wharf along Charleston Harbor and their journey after emancipation.
"There can be no better place than the harbor, the wharf, where the major number, the majority of African slaves were brought into this country," says museum board member Wilbur Johnson.
When the museum was first proposed, a larger, but less expensive, $37 million facility was envisioned.
Riley said the last decade has been spent in research to better tell the stories of blacks from the time they were brought from Africa as slaves to Charleston through the present day.
Construction will begin around the end of 2015, early 2016. The museum is expected to open in 2018.