America's Black Holocaust Museum

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America's Black Holocaust Museum building 1988–2008. It is now a virtual museum
New America's Black Holocaust Museum, 401 W. North Ave. MKE
The new ABHM, which is scheduled to open fall 2019, is located on the ground floor of the newly built Griot building at 401 W. North Ave., Milwaukee.

America's Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM is dedicated to the history of the Black Holocaust in America.The museum was founded in 1988 by James Cameron, who became well known after surviving a lynching.[1]

Cameron died in 2006, and in 2008, the museum's board of directors announced that the museum would be closed temporarily because of reduced funding during the 2008 Great Recession.[2][3] A foundation was created in 2012 to continue his legacy and vision. In 2012, the foundation re-opened ABHM as a 3,200+ page virtual museum at www.abhmuseum.org.

In 2016, the Foundation began planning to return the museum to a new physical home. The new location is in the Griot building at 401 W. North Avenue in Milwaukee's historic Bronzeville neighborhood, was scheduled to open in Fall 2019. The grand opening has since been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[4]

History[edit]

James Cameron[edit]

After surviving a lynching at age 16 in which two companions died, and subsequently spending five years in prison, James Cameron was determined to do something important with the rest of his life. He got an education, worked hard, raised five children, and spent his life studying the African-American experience in the United States. He worked in civil rights, wrote independent articles, pamphlets, and a memoir called A Time of Terror: A Survivor's Story. Cameron also amassed a large collection of materials and artifacts related to African-American history.[5]

After retirement, Cameron and his wife visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Israel. He thought that museum's focus on the personal history of individuals and their stories led to a better understanding of the reality of the Holocaust. Then living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1988 he founded his museum with the help of philanthropist Daniel Bader, having collected materials on the African-American experience in the US for many years.

Physical museum[edit]

ABHM's facility, located in Milwaukee, is the only memorial and museum that interprets the African American experience in the United States as an ongoing holocaust (series of mass atrocities) from the time of captivity in Africa to the present day. The museum examines the tragic legacies of slavery and promotes racial repair, reconciliation, and healing through developing awareness and empathy.

Cameron died in 2006; in 2008, the museum's board of directors announced that the museum would be closed temporarily because of financial problems.[2][3] The original museum was demolished in early 2017. The site, including the former Garfield Avenue School, was redeveloped as the Historic Garfield School Redevelopment Program.

On April 4, 2017, the developers broke ground on a new building called The Griot on the footprint (site) of the original museum.[6] The new museum is located on the ground floor of the Griot and was scheduled to open in 2019.[7]

Virtual museum[edit]

A new ABHM was established as a "virtual museum" by ABHM's Board of Directors, after the bricks-and-mortar museum closed. The new format came online as a virtual museum on February 25, 2012, in celebration of Cameron's birthday and Black History Month.[8]

The online museum is operated by the nonprofit Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation Inc. The virtual museum attracts 5 million visitors per year from over 200 countries. The "online" experience complements the "onsite" experience by recounting many of the seldom-told and untold stories of both tragedy and triumph, through short texts, pictures, videos, documents and links to further reading and other resources.

Educational focus[edit]

While there is also a Black Holocaust memorial in Savannah, Georgia, the ABHM facility serves as a center for education and scholarship related to the Black Holocaust and as a supportive forum for sharing thoughts about race and racism in America.

Exposing visitors to historical aspects of African-American cultural identity is achieved through educational exhibits, special programming, and guided tours about seven distinct historic eras. These eras are also interpreted in the Virtual Museum:

  • African Peoples Before Captivity[9]
  • Kidnapped: The Middle Passage[10]
  • Three Centuries Of Enslavement[11]
  • Reconstruction: A Brief Glimpse of Freedom
  • One Hundred Years of Jim Crow[12]
  • I Am Somebody! The Struggle for Justice[13]
  • NOW: Free At Last?[14]

ABHM welcomes visitors of all races and backgrounds, and encourages community understanding of the nation's history of racism, prejudice, social change and cross-cultural understanding.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lamb, Yvonne Shinhoster (June 13, 2006). "James Cameron; Survived Lynching, Founded Museum". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on September 12, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "America's Black Holocaust Museum's building closed after 20 years in Milwaukee". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on August 11, 2008. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "10 - BizTimes Media Milwaukee - Part 15". Biztimes.com. June 27, 2016. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  4. ^ Naczek, Margaret (2020-06-12). "America's Black Holocaust Museum pushes back reopening for when pandemic wanes". Milwaukee Business Journal. Archived from the original on 2020-08-14. Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  5. ^ "America's Black Holocaust Museum - Dr. James Cameron, Museum Founder and Lynching Survivor". Abhmuseum.org. Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  6. ^ "America's Black Holocaust Museum - Help Bring ABHM Home! Museum's New Space Rises in Bronzeville". Abhmuseum.org. Archived from the original on October 26, 2017. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  7. ^ Connatser, Grace (September 26, 2018). "America's Black Holocaust Museum provides sneak peek during Doors Open Milwaukee | Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service". Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Archived from the original on 2018-09-27. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  8. ^ "America's Black Holocaust Museum reopens at online site". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. March 4, 2012. Archived from the original on May 5, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  9. ^ "African Peoples Before Captivity Archives". America's Black Holocaust Museum. Archived from the original on 2021-01-12. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-11-01. Retrieved 2019-08-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Three Centuries Of Enslavement Archives". America's Black Holocaust Museum. Archived from the original on 2021-01-12. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-07-26. Retrieved 2019-08-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "I Am Somebody! The Struggle for Justice". Archived from the original on 2019-11-01. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  14. ^ "NOW: Free at Last?". Archived from the original on 2019-07-26. Retrieved 2019-08-05.

External links[edit]