SC Spot Where Slaves Entered US to Get Museum
International African American Museum to be built in Charleston
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2014 7:15 PM CDT
Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., center, announces that a $75 million International African American Museum will be built at the site of a wharf in Charleston.   (Bruce Smith)

(Newser) – A $75 million International African American Museum will be built in South Carolina on Charleston Harbor where tens of thousands of slaves first set foot in the United States. "There is no better site," Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said today, standing on the waterfront tract where the 42,000-square-foot museum will be built. The site is near Gadsden's Wharf, the significance of which became evident as research for the museum was done, says Riley. The wharf was built by Revolutionary War patriot Christopher Gadsden and it's estimated that 40% of African slaves brought to the United States in the late 18th and early 19th centuries walked across it.

From 1803 to 1807, the final years of the international slave trade, more than 70,000 enslaved Africans were brought to the wharf at a time when Charleston's population was only 20,000. The first slaves arrived in Charleston in 1670, the same year the Carolina colony was founded. Riley said that in recent months, during discussions with museum architects, it was determined that, if possible, the museum should be built at the site. Ralph Appelbaum, who designed the exhibits for the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, is designing the exhibits for the museum, which was first proposed 13 years ago. The museum will tell the story of black Americans with the use of interactive displays and changing exhibits. Riley hopes construction can begin in 2016, with the museum opening two years later.

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Showing 3 of 35 comments
Jul 15, 2014 9:36 PM CDT
Surprised at the backlash here (but not really). Why not just be proud to host the International African American museum? Yes, slaves were sold to many nations in North and South America. In fact, Brazil received more than the US did. But so what? The US still played a huge part in a shameful history. We still received an estimated 388,000 African slaves between between 1525 and 1866, and bred them like livestock until they numbered in the millions. Why not be the nation with the moral leadership to simply host a museum? Could some terrible wrong come from allowing it to be here? I'll never understand why for some, even the tiniest acknowledgement that this is our history causes an hysterical uproar.
Chuck Roast
Jul 15, 2014 9:13 PM CDT
Are the reasons the IAA museum is being built because there is a half black prezident in the white house, to help the negros have higher self esteem or to satisfy the "whitee" guilt?
Jul 15, 2014 8:54 PM CDT
Charleston is the second most stinky city in South Carolina, the first is Georgetown. Steel and paper mills should only be built on uninhabited planets.