Monday, the International African American Museum (IAAM) announced a $500,000 corporate investment from the Michelin Corporate Foundation. The generous pledge to the museum’s fundraising campaign will help propel the IAAM toward its $75 million goal as it raises the final $12.5 million in private philanthropy.
“Michelin has long exercised its leadership in South Carolina since opening its first plant here more than four decades ago,” Michael Boulware Moore, IAAM president and CEO. “This generous gift fortifies and expands Michelin’s commitment to our state and further demonstrates its value for diversity.”
The IAAM will serve as an institution of learning that explores the African American experience and its history. The museum will be constructed on the historic site of Gadsden’s Wharf on the Charleston Harbor, the leading point of disembarkation of enslaved Africans in North America. Dr. Henry Louis Gates, lauded Harvard professor and IAAM national advisor, has stated that Charleston is “ground zero of the African American experience.”
"As a global company, Michelin appreciates the way that our differences make us stronger,” said Pete Selleck, chairman and president of Michelin North America, Inc. “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.”
Michelin’s leadership investment will be recognized in the Stele Terrace in the museum’s African Ancestors Memorial Garden, a collection of gardens and artistic installations that sprawl across the IAAM grounds to honor the sacred location of Gadsden’s Wharf. Steles have a long history across a number of cultures, dating back to ancient communities in China, Greece and Rome where they were used as monuments or commemorative tablets. The Stele Terrace will feature an audio component that projects recordings of songs or spoken words in different languages from areas of origin in West and West Central Africa. This will provide a dynamic element to help visitors connect with the African culture and language, and illustrate that Africa is not monolithic, but composed of many unique peoples and traditions.
The IAAM looks forward to recognizing Michelin’s generous investment in the Founders Fund, and to collaborating further as this nationally significant institution comes to life.
About the IAAM:
The International African American Museum (IAAM), located at the former Gadsden’s Wharf in Charleston, SC, will be a unique center of learning where individuals, families, and groups will advance their understanding and appreciation of African American History. Located on the primary site of enslaved Africans’ entry into North America, IAAM will afford a distinct opportunity to convey the shared and individual journeys of African Americans as part of the American narrative.
- IAAM will include immersive, interactive exhibits, and multimedia experiences for visitors of all ages.
- IAAM will include a “Center for Family History” where individuals and families will advance the exploration of their own personal histories.
- IAAM will be a gateway to historic sites in South Carolina’s Lowcountry important to African American History.
- IAAM will be a national and international resource and a significant addition to the cultural, educational, and economic assets of Charleston, the Lowcountry, and South Carolina.
About Michelin Corporate Foundation:
The Michelin Corporate Foundation was created in January 2014 on the initiative of Mr. Jean-Dominique Senard, President of the Michelin Group. The activities of the Foundation follow a signature theme of “Helping people move forward” and seek to promote long-term projects in all the countries where Michelin is present. In line with the commitments and values of the Group, the Foundation operates in five areas: Sustainable mobility, sport and health, education and the community, protecting the environment and heritage and the arts.
Editor's Note - This is an unedited press release