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Why Is There No African-American Museum in Columbia?
2/21/2017 1:48:42 PM

Jordan Cooper
By Jordan Cooper
University of South Carolina Graduate
Class of 2015
The Clemson Area African-American Museum is the only government-funded black museum that covers the entire timeline of history of African-Americans in South Carolina and surrounding areas in the State of South Carolina.

I have recently been appointed Publicity Manager of the CAAAM and I was wondering why we do not have one in Columbia, SC? Columbia is 42 percent black according to the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent statistics.

Clemson is 11 percent black according to the census bureau. Columbia generates several times the amount of tax revenue that Clemson does and it is home to our Statehouse. The University of South Carolina has twice the number of students that Clemson University has as well.

I was on tenterhooks because the Clemson Football Team just won a National Championship in January and now our museum is going to be working with them to get the word out about our happenings at our museum. The Clemson football secretary told me there would be a way to advance our museum at their Ladies' Clinic, Banquet, and Youth Camps later in the year. I told her this would be great for new recruits and prospective students to feel looked after ethnically.

I cannot believe this museum first opened in 2002 when my late mother Dr. Patricia Sanders-Cooper was offered to be Director of Multicultural Affairs at Clemson University at my brother Elliott's orientation. My brother's roommate ended up being Brent Smith (Clemson Class of 2006) who walked-on for Tommy Bowden. As soon as Clemson Football agreed to coordinate with our museum I knew that my alma mater the University of South Carolina-Columbia needed a black museum to not be the state's oldest and flagship university blown out academically and athletically.

USC just had the Owner of the Houston Texans Bob McNair give 5 million dollars for a new football building. So, a million or so from a friend of USC for a black museum should not be troublesome to find. Football is the largest athletic revenue maker for any college in the United States that has a Varsity team and the majority of football players for FBS teams are African-American.

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