- Associated Press - Monday, July 13, 2015

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Charleston Mayor Joe Riley Jr. says the shooting deaths of nine people at a Charleston church last month underscore the need to build an African-American history museum in the city.

Riley told The Post and Courier of Charleston (https://bit.ly/1K0MipN ) that he’s doubling his fundraising efforts and hopes to bring in the $75 million needed to build the museum by the time he leaves office in January.

“An act of racial hatred makes clear the need for this museum,” Riley said. “It’s needed so all of us will have the chance to understand.”

Organizers have been working for 15 years to create the International African American History Museum at the location of a wharf on the Cooper River, where tens of thousands of enslaved Africans set foot in North America.

Organizers had always planned an exhibit on the role of black churches, Riley said. He said that exhibit will now include a focus on last month’s tragedy and Emanuel AME.



Riley plans to bring in $25 million each from private donors, the state, and the city and county to build the museum.

So far, Riley has brought in about $2 million in private donations, he said. But he already has met with or soon will meet with about 20 corporations, foundations or individuals to make presentations for donations.

“I want the $25 million pledged by the time I leave office Jan. 11,” he said. “I know the $25 million can be raised.”

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Information from: The Post and Courier, https://www.postandcourier.com

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