International African American Museum Honors Former Mayor Joseph P. Riley’s Commitment and Service to the Museum

International African American Museum
Statement on Former Mayor Joseph P. Riley’s Commitment and Service to the Museum

We are incredibly grateful to Mayor Joseph P. Riley. No one has been closer to or more committed to this project than he. From a powerful, inspiring announcement in a state-of-the-city address in 2000 to thousands of hours meeting with individuals—knocking on doors, telling the stories that have rarely been told and often overlooked—Riley has been passionately and unassailably committed to the creation of this museum.

In his farewell statement, Joe Riley thanked all of those who have walked this decades long path with him and declared his support for the International African American Museum, its leadership and the community of staff and volunteers that will bring the museum to life. We have come so far from that charging paragraph in a challenging speech long ago. We are proud of the journey his leadership and tenacity has driven us through.

“Though I’ve only had the pleasure of working with former Mayor Riley for a year, I have felt his impact and the full weight of his dream for and commitment to this institution,” comments Dr. Tonya Matthews, president and CEO of the museum. “As I have said before, stewarding this museum forward is a weighty privilege and I am grateful to have had him as a guide.”

The International African American Museum is now mere months away from opening thanks to the determination of many, but there is one who continuously moved supporters to action with a simple truth, “this is the right thing to do.” We appreciate everything Riley has done to honor the history of Charleston and the African American journey.

Read, Mayor Riley’s full statement, “This is, indeed, a landmark moment in a long journey.” April 27, 2022

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