Charleston’s African American museum gets $500,000 boost from Michelin

The proposed International African American Museum in Charleston is rolling closer to its fund-raising goal with a $500,000 boost that was announced Monday.

The donation from tire giant Michelin’s philanthropic arm cuts the amount needed to start construction to $12.5 million. The total project cost is estimated at $75 million.

“Michelin has long exercised its leadership in South Carolina since opening its first plant here more than four decades ago,” museum CEO Michael Boulware Moore said in a written statement. “This generous gift fortifies and expands Michelin’s commitment to our state and further demonstrates its value for diversity.”

The funding is from the Michelin Corporate Foundation, which the French company created in 2014 to support projects around the world.

Headquartered in Greenville, Michelin’s North America division is one of the state’s largest manufacturers. It employs more than 6,000 workers in South Carolina, mostly in the Upstate. 

“As a global company, Michelin appreciates the way that our differences make us stronger,” said Pete Selleck, Michelin North America’s chairman and president. “With that in mind, we are proud to support the International African American Museum — an institution of history and education that will encourage the celebration of diversity and improve understanding about the diverse experiences of different ethnic groups that contribute to the fabric of our country.”

The Concord Street museum will be built along Charleston Harbor by the city’s Maritime Center, on the site of Gadsden’s Wharf, where enslaved Africans were unloaded in America.

Michelin’s leadership investment will be recognized in the Stele Terrace in the African Ancestors Memorial Garden, a collection of gardens and artistic installations on the museum’s grounds that commemorate the site’s history.

Moore said he expects construction to start early next year and the museum to open by early 2020.

 

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