Today, the International African American Museum (IAAM) announced a $500,000 corporate investment from the Michelin Corporate Foundation. The generous pledge to the museum’s fundraising campaign will help propel the IAAM toward its $75 million goal as it raises the final $12.5 million in private philanthropy.
“Michelin has long exercised its leadership in South Carolina since opening its first plant here more than four decades ago,” Michael Boulware Moore, IAAM president and CEO. “This generous gift fortifies and expands Michelin’s commitment to our state and further demonstrates its value for diversity.”
The IAAM will serve as an institution of learning that explores the African American experience and its history. The museum will be constructed on the historic site of Gadsden’s Wharf on the Charleston Harbor, the leading point of disembarkation of enslaved Africans in North America. Dr. Henry Louis Gates, lauded Harvard professor and IAAM national advisor, has stated that Charleston is “ground zero of the African American experience.”
“As a global company, Michelin appreciates the way that our differences make us stronger,” said Pete Selleck, chairman and president of Michelin North America, Inc. “With that in mind, we are proud to support the International African American Museum — an institution of history and education that will encourage the celebration of diversity and improve understanding about the diverse experiences of different ethnic groups that contribute to the fabric of our country.”
Michelin’s leadership investment will be recognized in the Stele Terrace in the museum’s African Ancestors Memorial Garden, a collection of gardens and artistic installations that sprawl across the IAAM grounds to honor the sacred location of Gadsden’s Wharf. Steles have a long history across a number of cultures, dating back to ancient communities in China, Greece and Rome where they were used as monuments or commemorative tablets. The Stele Terrace will feature an audio component that projects recordings of songs or spoken words in different languages from areas of origin in West and West Central Africa. This will provide a dynamic element to help visitors connect with the African culture and language, and illustrate that Africa is not monolithic, but composed of many unique peoples and traditions.
The IAAM looks forward to recognizing Michelin’s generous investment in the Founders Fund, and to collaborating further as this nationally significant institution comes to life.