By Barney Blakeney
As the International African American Museum moves closer to becoming a reality, its officials want to recognize and celebrate the community partners who are committed to making it more than a collection of artifacts. Last month, the staff recognized Rev. Dr. Isaac Holt and the congregation of Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston for their continued support.
IAAM Lilly Director of Education and Engagement for Faith Based Communities Rev. DeMett E. Jenkins said Royal is an IAAM charter member and through that partnership and the IAAM’s collaborative program, in March at the Medical University of South Carolina conducted a panel discussion about end of life care for African American families. Panelists, included Jenkins, an MUSC Palliative Care physician, an MUSC Social Worker, Dr. Thaddeus Bell, Rev. Dr. Kay Colleton- Pastor of Manna Life Center and Rev. Frank Harris- Chief Chaplain at MUSC.
“Pastor Holt was instrumental in making sure this healthcare talk took place and he wants us to continue this dialogue,” said Jenkins. “Pastor Holt has certainly been an advocate for the IAAM and allows us to present at the Baptist Ministerial Alliance Meeting as well. We want to thank and salute Pastor Holt and the Royal Missionary Baptist Church Ministry for their ongoing support to the IAAM.”
Interim CEO Dr. Bernie Powers said, “We have always thanked our supporters in different ways, but the IAAM has now incorporated a formal recognition into our board meetings because our cadre of community partners is growing and we want to make sure that we are systematically recognizing them. Beyond that point we think it important to lift them up as examples of the kinds of partnerships we seek, and to encourage others to step forward and join with our efforts to create mutually beneficial relationships.”
Some other groups working with the IAAM are: The South Carolina African American Historical Commission; The Barbados-Carolinas Connection and Foundation; The Avery Research Center; The Association for the Study of African American Life and History; The South Carolina Historical Society; Historic Charleston Foundation; Emanuel AME Church; Morris Brown AME Church; and Gullah Tours Sights and Insights Tours; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; Charleston Promise Neighborhood; Bright Historical Group; and Charleston Freedom School.
IAAM COO Elijah Heyward said, “We want to underscore that when the museum opens it will be the manifestation of the hopes, dreams, and resources of individuals from all walks of life and at all levels of support.”