America's Black Holocaust Museum

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America's Black Holocaust Museum building 1988-2008. It is now a virtual museum

America's Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM), located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Black Holocaust. It was founded in 1988 by James Cameron, the United States' only known survivor of a lynching.[1]

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] ABHM re-opened as a virtual museum in 2012.


James Cameron[edit]

After surviving a lynching attempt and imprisonment, starting at the age of 16, James Cameron became determined to change his life. He got an education, worked hard, and studied all his life about slavery and the African-American experience in the United States. He worked in civil rights, wrote independent articles, and collected materials having to do with African-American history.[4]

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

Physical museum[edit]

ABHM's facility, located in Milwaukee, was the only memorial dedicated specifically to the victims of the enslavement of Africans in the United States.

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] Its former building never re-opened, and remains vacant as of September, 2015.

On April 4, 2017, ABHM broke ground on a new building at the site of its original location, 4th and North Avenue in Milwaukee.[5]

Virtual museum[edit]

A new ABHM was established as a "virtual museum" by ABHM's Board of Directors, after the bricks-and-mortar museum had been closed since 2008. The new format came online as a virtual museum on February 25, 2012, in celebration of Cameron's birthday and Black History Month.[6]

The online museum is now operated by the nonprofit Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation Inc.


America's Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) exists to educate the public of injustices suffered by people of African-American heritage, while providing visitors with an opportunity to rethink their assumptions about race and racism.

Educational focus[edit]

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

Exposing visitors to historical aspects of African-American cultural identity was achieved through educational exhibits, special programming, and guided tours related to six distinct historic eras, which are replicated in the Virtual Museum:

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lamb, Yvonne Shinhoster (June 13, 2006). "James Cameron; Survived Lynching, Founded Museum". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 28, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b "America's Black Holocaust Museum's building closed after 20 years in Milwaukee". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved October 26, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "10 - BizTimes Media Milwaukee - Part 15". June 27, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2017. 
  4. ^ "America's Black Holocaust Museum - Dr. James Cameron, Museum Founder and Lynching Survivor". Retrieved October 26, 2017. 
  5. ^ "America's Black Holocaust Museum - Help Bring ABHM Home! Museum's New Space Rises in Bronzeville". Retrieved October 26, 2017. 
  6. ^ "America's Black Holocaust Museum reopens at online site". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved October 26, 2017. 

External links[edit]