"It was a struggle to put together the museum he wanted," Anderson said at
Wright ran out of funds and asked Anderson to arrange a meeting with Dr.
Wright later accepted a portion of the budget from Mayor
It is that larger audience I felt compelled to ask a question once the murmurs began.
You've heard the murmurs: If the foundations and the state stepped up to help protect the assets of the
That, my friends, is the wrong question.
The question is who will play the part of
Don't remember? He's the millionaire who two months ago -- it seems longer, doesn't it? -- gave the first donation,
"I have to believe there are more of us out there who want to do something and didn't quite know how to approach it," Schaap told
He gave, and then more than 130 individuals contributed to the effort.
One hundred and thirty individuals.
And that is what must happen now with the Wright, the nation's largest African-American history museum. It is a
But if it is, shouldn't it be because those who care about it show their support through donations, just like art fans did for the DIA?
The museum's leadership said last week that the Wright isn't sustainable without the funding that it has, in the past, gotten from the city.
This isn't a comparison between the DIA and the Wright; one is an art museum, one holds the mostly untold history of a nation.
But if those of us of all colors and backgrounds who value the museum don't fight for it, why should any foundation write a check?
The Wright's membership has dropped from 20,000 to 7,000 in just 3 1/2 years. It has struggled financially while people have used it endlessly.
All it takes is one person to step up, and others to echo that call with their actions and words. That might be what leads foundations and leaders -- and perhaps the governor -- to believe that something is worthwhile.
"These are city-owned facilities," Moore said. "That's why we believe the city should continue to support them. It's like paying utilities for any other building that they own. The DIA wouldn't be able to do it without a tax levy."
The DIA was successful in getting a tri-county millage passed, tax dollars that might have been in jeopardy were any art sold to settle city debts. Now the DIA is seeking independence.
The Wright doesn't want independence. But the museum does want community as well as city support. The museum has a small endowment, about
Still, the Wright has been working. That we didn't know how bad things were is a testament to its leadership. Things got things done anyway.
But now we know.
The leaders of the
The leaders of fraternities and sororities that represent more than 2,000 people now know; 100 Black Men, the organization that saves young boys lives, now know.
Dozens of prominent and important organizations filled with people who fought alongside black people for civil rights know.
Our elected officials know.
If the Wright is important, as important as Belle Isle, as important as the empty land that one day might hold a hockey arena and residences for hundreds or thousands of tax-paying residents, shouldn't we all fight for it?
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