Photo Credit: Tuul & Bruno Morandi
America's Black Holocaust Museum Announces Reopening Date
America’s Black Holocaust Museum is slated to reopen in 2022, in Milwaukee‘s Bronzeville neighborhood. It will contain exhibits highlighting the historical horrors that occurred within the institution of slavery and the larger African diaspora. The museum was founded in 1984 by Dr. James Cameron, an author who documented his early years up to his lynching, which occurred when he was 16 years old.
Despite his two friends dying from the public lynching, Cameron survived. He was sent to prison, where he began focusing on the cruelty of racism and lynching with the hopes of one day retelling his story. Cameron’s memoir, A Time of Terror became wildly successful after his death in 2006.
The terrifying sentiments found in his book are showcased in America’s Black Holocaust Museum in displays depicting the racist culture of America during the Jim Crow era and how this perpetuated Black fear and impacted the Black psyche overtime.
The museum will reopen February 25, during Black History Month. It will contain artifacts that represent the 400-year threshold of slavery that existed in the United Sates. Dr. James Cameron compared the Holocaust that impacted the Jewish community to the otracities the African diaspora experienced during slavery.
Cameron appreciated how the Holocaust was documented in the Holocaust Memorial Museum of Jerusalem, Israel, and planned to curate his own museum showcasing the Black Holocaust, in an attempt to gain more cultural awareness of the historical significance of slavery and the systemic racism that still exists today.
The museum will have seven historical galleries displaying the timeline of Africans, from living freely in Africa to being transported through slavery and adapting to life in America. The “African Peoples Before Captivity” exhibition is one of the first of its kind, and will pay homage to the great civilizations that lived in Africa before enslavement.
“Kidnapped: The Middle Passage” will be one of the most jarring exhibits, with diagrams and depictions of slave ships used during the Triangular Slave Trade.” The other exhibits will feature the Black experience during slavery, reconstruction, the Jim Crow era, and the fight for racial justice.
The renovations being made to America’s Black Holocaust Museum are part of a wider strategy to boost the local Black economy in Bronzeville. The neighborhood has become known as the Black epicenter of arts and culture in Milwaukee, and the city’s redevelopment plans for the community are intended to further celebrate the thriving Black culture that already exists in the area.