What Happened to Virginia's Slavery Museum?

Atlantic magazine blogger Ta-Nahisi Coates admonishes former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder for apparently abandoning plans to open a slavery museum and leaving donors to wonder what happened to their artifacts.

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Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder (Library of Virginia)

In a blog entry at Atlantic magazine, Ta-Nehisi Coates condemns former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder for apparently abandoning plans to open a highly touted slavery museum nearly two decades ago, leaving donors in the lurch.

Famous first L. Douglas Wilder was supposed to be putting together a powerhouse slavery museum in Virginia. It looks like no such museum is in the offing:

" 'Governor Wilder disappeared,' said Rev. Lawrence Davies, the former longtime mayor of Fredericksburg who was a member of the board. Davies stopped getting notices about board meetings, and when he tried to reach Wilder, he never heard back. 

" 'No one could ever get through to him,' Davies said. 'We didn't know what to think.' It wasn't just board members and city officials who were left to wonder. There are donors, too, asking what happened.

" 'I trusted them,' said Therbia Parker Sr., a general contractor from Suffolk, Va., who gave the museum nearly 100 artifacts he had collected over 40 years, including rare and invaluable pieces such as leg shackles, a handwritten bill of sale for slaves, and a collar with a plantation name and slave number on it ... "

... Indeed. Parker has yet to get any of those artifacts back. He doesn't even know where they are. The callousness here is breathtaking.

Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' entire blog entry at the Atlantic.

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