CHARLESTON, S.C. _ Final design of a planned $75 million African American museum in Charleston is underway and the project has received a boost with a $500,000 donation from Boeing.
Local media outlets report that Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., discussed the donation Wednesday after it was announced earlier in the week in Columbia.
The aeronautics giant that operates a 787 jet assembly plant in North Charleston also made a donation of $250,000 to the museum four years ago.
Construction is expected to begin in 2017 on the museum planned on the site of a former wharf where tens of thousands of slaves first set foot in North America.
The museum was first proposed almost 16 years ago to tell the story of those who arrived on this continent in chains, both describing where they came from and what they did to help build the United States.
The wharf where thousands of slaves landed was built by Revolutionary War leader Christopher Gadsden, also known for designing the yellow rattlesnake flag of the period with the legend “Don’t Tread on Me.”
The concept calls for one side of the 42,000-square-foot museum to have large windows looking out on the water where slaves arrived in the holds of ships. That will be mirrored on the other side of the building with windows looking on Charleston, the first city many slaves passed through as they began lives of servitude in the United States.
The museum plans a family history centre where, using touchscreen technology, visitors can do genealogical research and add their own stories to a database that tells the stories of blacks in the United States.