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Doug Wilder proposes National Slavery Museum on Broad Street

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Doug Wilder wants to bring his National Slavery Museum back home to Richmond. The former Richmond mayor and Virginia governor made the announcement Thursday morning.

"I want to be a part of the neglected vision that no longer needs to be neglected," said L. Douglas Wilder, former Virginia Governor.

Wilder said his plan would be separate from Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones' vision to build a slave heritage site and baseball stadium in the city's Shockoe Bottom neighborhood.

"We are a stand alone entity.  We have never been connected.  And we are not connected now," said Wilder.

Shockoe Bottom was once an East Coast hub for the slave trade.

Wilder's museum would also go in Shockoe Bottom, specifically a site near the old Lumpkin's slave jail near 14th and Broad Streets.

Wilder said he has not spoken to Mayor Jones nor anyone on the Slave Trail Commission about his plan. He said the money the state set aside for a slavery museum should be put toward his plan.

He said he would not have to build a new structure to house the museum because the building he has in mind is in excellent condition.

The proposed location is where Richmond's first African American Baptist Church was founded.  The structure is currently owned by VCU, and Wilder said his group is in "preliminary discussions" about purchasing the building.

Wilder's previous pitch to build a slavery museum in Richmond was not met with much enthusiasm. He decided to move the project to Fredericksburg where it has been mired in fundraising, land and tax issues for more than a decade.

 "I disagree with the fact that we were driven into bankruptcy by taxes that should have never been imposed on a charitable institution," said Wilder.

And while some people may agree with Wilder, others we spoke with aren't convinced it will actually happen.
"He may have to rethink how he wants to do, what it is he wants to accomplish," Reverend Michael Thomas.
"In order for me to believe that it could happen.  I think that he would need to demonstrate with some concrete evidence that it can happen," said Lisa Thompson.

CBS 6 reached out to Mayor Dwight Jones for comment.  His press secretary, Tammy Hawley said, "there have been no formal or informal discussions with Governor Wilder about his current efforts. As he indicates, his proposal is something he needs to discuss with the State."

As for the 38 acres of land in Fredericksburg, the City Treasurer tells CBS 6, $538,000 in back taxes which includes interest, penalties and fees is still owed.  And the property is under contract by a developer who plans to build a baseball stadium for a Minor League team.


  • Ard Vaark

    Why of course he has such a fantastic track record organizing these cockups. Perhaps he can con the city it funding the flippin’ thing as a ‘tourism investment’.

  • buzz

    Democraps say they are not racist yet they keep bringing up something that happend 140 years ago? anyone see the problem here?

    • Jess

      Okay wait, so it’s racist to build a museum about slavery, but it’s historical education and remembrance to have a White House of the Confederacy museum? There is no problem with a museum of this nature. The biggest problems involve funding and problem.

      • buzz

        The Civil War is American history. Please explain to me how one american living today is affected from slavery? How? Is anyone today a decendant from a slave in our century? No. I am a American so sick and tiered of people , Mainly blacks pulling the slave card as a excuse. The museum of the confederacy is a museum dedcicated to the history of the confederacy and the history of the civil war and what divided this country

      • Bill

        Buzz, you seem a little slow on the uptake so let me try and help you out. You said the civil war is american history – if you are not aware so is slavery. People today are no closer to being descendants of the confederacy than they are to slaves but that doesn’t stop you from wanting to remember the confederacy does it? Both are american history and both should be studied and remembered. The confederacy lasted for 4 years, slavery lasted close to 200 years in America.

    • Laura

      wow, if everyone thought about it like you there would be no museums….stop talking about black history you know nothing about.

    • Laura

      buzz is so stupid! how did slavery effect americans living today? are you serious? is anyone living today the decendant of a slave? are you serious? now, come on, black or white, everyone knows slavery shaped america in many ways and everyone knows that tons of people in this country are decendents of slaves. You IDIOT!

      • manalishi

        And yet they are not slaves, never met a slave, and do not know anyone who new a slave or slave owner.

        It’s is US history. The only way it affects lives today is for someone to feign offence to its history or demand a special “respect” for something they did not earn after the ancestors are gone.

      • Laura

        you are dumb too….because of slavery there is no leveled playing field. White people have controlled this country from the start. If my ancestors had 400 years of free labor, I would be in a better predicament because they would have money, capital, land and businesses to hand down. White people owned all businesses and controlled all government so they obviously held all the highliy compensated positions and they only hired their own kind, later on if a black person had the same job he got paid less, black people were beat if they learned how to read, write or count, so generation to generation of being unproductive for your own race but at the same time being productive for another race makes black and white people years apart in terms of making a living. Black people built houses, buildings, paved roads, railroads and white people benefited and black people did not get paid. The Monticello where kids go to visit for school trips, black slaves built that house for Jefferson….took them 40 years. Civil rights movement took place about 60 years ago; we cant make up for 400 years in 60 years. Black people had unfair labor, slum housing, schools without proper resources, etc. This is just the tip of the iceberg. However, I dont expect you to understand, I know you will pretend not to and continue to speak about what you dont know about.

      • manalishi

        Most people try harder to improve than make excuses. You just spent all that time justifying why an entire culture cannot function without and endless supply of handouts. Shameless democrat failures.

      • Laura

        Black people do try harder..we have no choice but to try harder when things are unequal. White people (evil culture) wouldnt have been able to function without handouts. They had forceful handouts for hundreds of years and still benefiting from that handout (slavery). Pethetic, pitiful, petty, hateful white FAILURES.

  • travis

    yes give this guy more of your money,really.Are kidding?This guy and others like him,sharton,jesse have made a living off this kinda thing.Like black preachers,give us your money and we will tell you jesus loves you yet you live in slums while we live it up,gimme a break

  • R Moffett

    Given the former Governor’s abysmal failure and the amount of money lost in Fredericksburg, I can’t imagine any circumstances in which any tax revenue, from any source, should be spend on any project in which Doug Wilder has a direct or indirect interest. He’s had his chance and failed to produce such a museum.

    I’m not opposed to a Museum to objectively commemorate and honestly interpret this unfortunate part of American History – but such an undertaking must be done by people who have a record of success in such projects – Wilder’s record is of abject failure!!!

  • Lyric

    I am not sure how anyone can say Wilder wasn’t successful, he was the first African American governor in the country and he had numerous successes as Governor. He also had successes as the Mayor. He may not have gotten everything done he wanted to but he did do a lot for the city. If you follow City politics you will notice that the voters aren’t very good with change. The fact that the school board is still is City Hall is crazy to me. The city waste a lot of money and RPS is one of the few school systems in a municipal building in this country. They are wasting money that could go into funding the education system hence teacher salaries.

    For anyone to think that slavery isn’t a part of history and we aren’t affected today by it shows the ignorance still prevalent today. As Laura so precisely stated the African American community is still feeling and living the pain of slavery. White people Republican and Democrats have clearly benefited from the blood, sweat and tears of Blacks. This country was built on the backs of the black people and the black community has clearly suffered and still suffers from racism and degradation. Having a Black President doesn’t change what still exist. Having a Black President is political he was the best political choice because Republicans don’t represent the views of the majority of Americans. He didn’t win just because he’s black and the county is better. He won because he’s a Democrat.

    If the Slave Museum didn’t work in one place then try it somewhere else actually keep trying until it’s done we shouldn’t give up.

    • Patrick Henrys Ghost (@Pissed_Pat)

      The Smithsonian has already OK’d a National History of Afircan American History and Culture for the National Mall. I’m pretty sure slavery fits under its mandate.

      A second museum in Richmond is not only unnecessary, but doomed to fail in the shadow of DC’s. And even if it were possible (or necessary) to have two, Doug Wilder first needs to expain where all the millions from the last failed attempt went before he starts asking for more money toward a new one.

  • Patrick Henrys Ghost (@Pissed_Pat)

    (a) Before Doug Wilder proposes a museum, he should account for the tens of millions that disappeared when his old museum never materialized.

    (b) A Slavery Museum in Richmond is doomed to fail — if only because the Smithsonian has already greenlighted a Black History and Culture Museum on the Washington Mall, only 100 miles away, competing for the same donors, artifacts, and audience.

  • Patrick Henrys Ghost (@Pissed_Pat)

    FYI: For those of you who keep using it as a point of comparison, the “Museum of the Confederacy” will no longer exist in Richmond by this tiem next year. It has been effectively bought out and merged with the even-less-successful American Civil War museum at Tredegar, and is in the process right now of winding up operations and shutting its doors.

  • PU.PC

    Wilder never had the integrity, character, or deportment to Stand Up
    and explain himself to Virginians on his Fredericksburg Fiasco, or where the money went. In hiding all this time and now poking his head out
    from his hdden hole again? Obviously he’s not concerned with how
    he looks or how he behaves. Photo Op before a plan or coordination..
    Good thing it is set up so that NO Democratic is held ever
    Responsible, because they aren’t.

  • TWuanduh

    blacks have ZERO countries, neighborhoods or even a city that is NOT a ghetto! Blacks have not even invented a written language. STOP what you are doing and google IQ by RACE. Blacks are dumb and that is why they are poor, violent and diseased. STOP and google IQ by country and you will see that the dumbest most violent and diseased are black countries. SORRY if FACTS make me seem like I hate my black people.

    • Shelly

      blacks have ZERO countries, neighborhoods or even a city that is NOT a ghetto?? Tell me who DOES HAVE the latter? What is the definition of have? Is it that one owns a country, neighborhood or city? is it that one merely lives in a country, neighborhood or city? Please provide clarification of your ignorance. Blacks have not invented a written language? By whose standards? The english language is more dominate which is where the misconception comes. Egyption Hieroglyphics was probably the most widely known from Egypt. Bassa, Bété syllabary, Eghap script, Kpelle syllabary, N’Ko alphabet, and Loma syllabary to name a few. IQ by race? again, by whose standards? A test made up by a white man. As far as I am concerned black people are very intelligent and resourceful but African Americans just live in a society dominated (made up and ran) by white people’s systems/standard/government. We know how to make something out of nothing…if you look back at all the African American has been through, you would see survivor/overcomer. No, your “opinion” fostered by the media and and what white people want us all to think does not make you seem like you hate black people, just lets us know you are uneducated, misinformed, and ignorant.

  • gomez

    Doug Wilder was my father’s friend, and my father thought very highly of him. Also I think Mr. Wilder is a wonderful person. However, he is only human. I do wish people would quit putting him down.
    By the way, my skin is white, but I am descended from Shaka Zulu who was a black Chief of the Zulu Nation in South Africa. I also had ancestors who arrived in what is now the United States of America from England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Spain and Germany (all white nations). I am also descended from North American and South American Indians. I am very proud of my heritage. I know who my ancestors were. How many people today know their genealogy?
    I think a Slave History Museum in Richmond is a great idea. It would be of educational value to people of any age or nationality. Richmond was a hub for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The Shockoe Bottom area was where hundreds of slaves were jailed, bought and sold. The main problem with establishing a Slave History Museum in Richmond, or anywhere else, is that most people do not care to remember the past. If we forget the past, we are doomed to repeat it!

  • Becky

    Wilder plowed his own path, achieved, then fell.on his own accord.
    If you can’t be honest, above board, responsible or accountable, why
    call a press conference to announce it all over again?….No Plan.
    No Stand Up Man Explanation for the last Debacle, after hiding so
    long… Pop goes the Weasel.

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