Plan for $75 million Int. African American Museum gaining momentum

Plan for $75 million Int. African American Museum gaining momentum

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston city council members approved a design contractor for the International African American Museum Tuesday.

The $75 million project is gaining momentum after being in limbo for more than a decade.

The city changed the location of the museum and money still remains an issue.

The Charleston Harbor is still busy more than 200 years after slaves were first brought to our country.

Their introduction to America was what is now a grassy area in downtown Charleston once called Gadsden's Wharf.

"We are actually seated where Gadsden's Wharf was," said Mayor Joe Riley during Tuesday's press conference.

The city's goal is to build the International African American Museum on the site.

Riley says they didn't know the exact location of Gadsden's Wharf when they first decided to build the museum in a different location.

Now he says history has made the new waterfront location an undeniable spot where visitors can be educated.

Riley said, "For a museum about African American history, it's the best location you can have anywhere."

The museum isn't a done deal yet.

"We'll be working hard over the next six months on the conceptual design and working hard to raise private money," said Riley.

The project is expected to cost 75 million. So far they have about 30 million from the city and state and are expecting more from private donors.

Riley said, "Our goal is to have all of the money committed so that we can begin construction the beginning of 2016."

Wilbur Johnson, chairman of the board of the museum says this is all a step in the direction to paying respect to the hundreds of thousands of slave who were brought through.

"We believe that we can do no greater honor for them and for their experiences than by building this museum in Charleston, South Carolina and now by building this museum on this site," said Johnson.

The museum is expected to open near the beginning of 2018, only if enough money is raised to fund the project.

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