It’s kind of sad to watch the folks at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum flounder about. They have, after all, one of the cornerstones of the Civil Rights movement in their possession. With it, any project manager worth their salt should have been able to create a successful destination spot for people looking to learn for the first time, or celebrate once again, the power of what took place there.
Four young men stood up to a system of segregation that considered them second-class citizens. It was a brave move, worthy of immortality.
But that’s not going to happen if the ego-driven personalities in control of the board can’t step aside for the greater good of the ICRCM’s legacy. One week after firing their executive director, the man who had made the museum palatable even to its harshest critics, the museum board faces a breaking point. The mayor of Greensboro is offering to have the city take over the facility. This would ensure the museum’s survival, on taxpayer dollars, in the face of fundraising shortfalls and deadlines for loan payments.
The museum board set the offer aside in a 10-9 vote, according to Mayor Nancy Vaughan, herself a board member. One of the museum’s co-founders, Earl Jones, responded that Vaughan’s move was an attempt to “whitewash” the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement.
This is absurd. And part of the problem. Jones’ rhetoric can be put to the test by allowing the museum to continue on its path to financial uncertainty. Everyone in Greensboro knows that only a $1.5 million loan from the city has kept the doors open in recent months.
Jones should realize that just down the street the larger fundraising community is celebrating the groundbreaking of a multi-million greenspace known as LeBauer Park.
Keeping status quo entities like the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro on the donor sidelines with overcharged rhetoric is among Jones, et al’s, most significant failures. !
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