|$110 million for a black museum in Cincinnati... that no one goes to|
All over the world nation states are preparing to store their testimony for the posterity which we can still occasionally convince ourselves may follow us, those creatures from another planet who may land on this green wilderness and ask what kind of sentient life once inhabited it. We are storing our books and manuscripts, the great paintings, the musical scores and instruments, the artifacts. The world's greatest libraries will in forty years' time at most be darkened and sealed. The buildings, those that are still standing, will speak for themselves. The soft stone of Oxford is unlikely to survive more than a couple of centuries. Already the University is arguing about whether it is worth refacing the crumbling Sheldonian. But I like to think of those mythical creatures landing in St. Peter's Square and entering the great Basilica, silent and echoing under the centuries of dust. Will they realize that this was once the greatest of man's temples to one of his many gods? Will they be curious about his nature, this deity who was worshipped with such pomp and splendor, intrigued by the mystery of his symbol, at once so simple, the two crossed sticks, ubiquitous in nature, yet laden with gold, gloriously jeweled and adorned? Or will their values and their thought processes be so alien to ours that nothing of awe or wonder will be able to touch them? But despite the discovery--in 1997 was it?--of a planet which the astronomers told us could support life, few of us really believe that they will come. They must be there. It is surely unreasonable to credit that only one small star in the immensity of the universe is capable of developing and supporting intelligent life. But we shall not get to them and they will not come to us. (p. 4)
It opened to great fanfare and promise in 2004. Now, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, whose exhibits focus on the story of the American struggle for freedom, especially that of African Americans, is in deep financial trouble that could force it to shut down.
Located where African Americans crossed the Ohio River into freedom, the center has cut expenses severely but faces a $1.5 million shortfall in its 2012 budget, said Freedom Center board Co-chairman John Pepper and other center leaders.
|White America's footprint... it's on the moon|
We’ve endured tragic and embarrassing headlines for so long, maybe we’ve forgotten:
City Council pro tem goes to prison
Mayor goes to prison
City Council president disappears after accusations
City declares bankruptcy
City may sell art to settle debts
Now imagine one more: Detroit bankruptcy shutters nation’s largest African-American history museum.
No entity is immune from the city’s bankruptcy. But we ought to save the Charles H. Wright Museum to avoid the embarrassment.
And by we, I don’t mean just the city.
Detroit owns the Wright, the nation’s largest institution committed to preserving and teaching the public about the African-American experience, according to its mission.
Under its contract with the museum, which expires in 2019, Detroit is to provide a significant amount of the museum’s operating expenses. That support dropped from 48% in 2010 to 21% this year. The board, which met last week, made publicly clear that the museum is not sustainable without city funding.
Walt Douglas, chairman of Avis Ford and a museum board member, said in a letter to Mayor Mike Duggan that in a city with more than 550,000 African Americans, the Wright “should not be forgotten or overlooked” during bankruptcy negotiations and subsequent budget battles.
The bank has sued to foreclose. The city’s philanthropic groups, with names like Mellon and Heinz, have withdrawn support. The $42 million August Wilson Center for African American Culture, a bow-front building inspired by a Swahili sailing ship, is high and dry.
Were mankind to die off tomorrow, or the entire population to become infertile, these simple facts remain for the ages long after we died off: