Wilder says slavery museum will be built in Fredericksburg

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

Posted by Colby Rogers

FREDERICKSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Former Richmond Mayor Doug Wilder says the National Slavery Museum he supported while in office will not leave Fredericksburg.

In Fredericksburg, 38 acres have been set aside are for the National Slavery Museum, described as a place to remember one of the darkest periods in the America's history. The building was supposed to open this year, but construction has not even begun.

"Money is in short supply everywhere, all around the world," Wilder said, "So, it shouldn't be  a surprise that things are not where we would like them to be."

With no movement for a museum, the speculation has begun as to whether it will be built at all. There has been talk in the past that the museum might move to Richmond.

Delegate Delores McQuinn says the city would welcome the project.

"It happened right on the grounds that we're standing," McQuinn said. "What better place to put a slavery museum to tell the story? "

But Wilder says no one from the city has contacted him. He says the museum is not moving anywhere.

"We have  a moral as well as  contractual obligations," Wilder said, "and we are committed to doing that."

But that commitment does have issues.

The non-profit museum has not paid nearly $25,000 in property taxes that were due in November.

"I think there's a whole lot of people that might be late paying some taxes," Wilder said.

The museum's collected as much as $17 million in donations, but state officials say the museum is no longer registered to solicit money. Wilder says money is all he needs to turn his dream into a reality.

"Do you know of anyone that has money to commit to us? Fine - we will build the museum," Wilder said, "and that museum will be built in Fredericksburg, Va."

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