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Many have used the age-old tale of a phoenix rising from ashes as a metaphor for life to remind us that beauty can be on the other side of pain, tragedy and loss if we allow it. The sordid history of Gadsden’s Wharf, a former slave ship docking port in Charleston, South Carolina, will soon be given a positive new makeover as the International African American Museum.

On June 1, the museum announced it was finally slated to open the weekend of Jan. 21, 2023.

“I am proud to have worked with our incredible team to get this museum to opening day.,” Dr. Tonya Matthews, president and CEO of the International African American Museum, said on Facebook. “This museum will be a must-see space of courageous curiosity and authentic engagement with our nation’s history – with African American history.”

Gadsden’s Wharf operated at the peak of the international slave trade, with an estimated 100,000 enslaved Africans being transported and sold from the dock like literal cargo. Now, a 150,000-square-foot facility will take its place beginning the weekend of January 21, 2023. This plan has surprisingly been in the making way before that launch date though, going all the way back two decades ago when former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. announced the plans in 2000.

More info below on how things finally got off the ground, via Live 5 News:

“Dr. Tonya Matthews, President and CEO of the International African American Museum, says they broke ground in 2020 right before the pandemic started. Supply chain issues were the biggest setback, but they got back on track and are excited to welcome visitors early next year.

Matthews says choosing the opening date was important, they wanted to have their own space to celebrate. The museum has been decades in the making and there are many reasons why.

One reason is it was built from the ground up costing just shy of $100 million dollars and the museum committed to raising most of the money before breaking ground. There’s so much African American history here in Charleston. This is another reason why this home base for the museum is unique.

‘We did have the ability to reclaim the space of Gadsden’s Wharf, one of our nation’s most prolific international slave-trading ports,’ Matthews says.”

Those looking for more information on the International African American Museum can visit them online. Take a preview of the layout in a report by WCBD News 2 below:



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International African American Museum To Open On Site Of Former Charleston Slave Trading Port  was originally published on