We Are Resolute This New Year
By: Marco A. Corona, Chief Development Officer of the International African American Museum
January 1. This date means so much to us. All of us.
This is the day we promise ourselves that we will grow. That we will be better. It is the day we are hopeful and welcome new opportunities.
Within the African American journey, January 1 is also the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. And, right here in Charleston, we have celebrated this historic moment for 156 years through a parade—the longest-running Emancipation Proclamation Parade in our country.
We are incredibly proud that the International African American Museum played, and will continue to play, an important role. This was the first year the procession ended at the museum (which is nearly complete).
As you know, the International African American Museum is located on land that was the site of human struggle and enslavement—which is why it is sacred. It is also where we will write the next chapter of our collective history. And thanks to the organizers of the Emancipation Proclamation Parade, we now have a stronger connection to the day African Americans were declared free.
If you were at the parade, I’m sure you were as proud as we were seeing the International African American Museum float—adorned in black and white glittering streamers—weave through neighborhoods and down King Street. But if you weren’t there, I encourage you to see the coverage from the day.
As we passed parade watchers, and it dawned on them who we were, the most common question shouted to us from the sidelines was, “When will you open?”
While the building will open in late 2022. The work has already begun! For example, the Center for Family History is already an award-winning genealogical research center. Learn more about its great work here.
And OUR New Year’s resolution is to expand what we are doing outside of the museum walls.
In particular, we will have two opportunities you can engage with through our local partners.
We are sponsoring BLACKink: A Charleston Book Festival. This free virtual festival, celebrating Lowcountry Black authors and beyond, will take place January 13–15, 2022.
We encourage you to register here.
And, in February, the Charleston County Public Library, in partnership with the International African American Museum, will be launching a Gullah-Geechee audio-story line through their Dial-A-Story hotline. Stay tuned for more details!
As we keep moving through 2022, we will remain hopeful and resolve to live up to the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation. Let’s write this new chapter of history together while honoring the untold stories of the African American journey. Happy New Year!