The house that former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick built to destroy is exploring the possibility of auctioning off storied items in the country’s biggest African-American museum in attempt to even out the city’s $18B debt.
The nearly 50-year-old Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History opened up at the height of the Civil Rights Era in 1965 and contains 30K items of memorabilia from the likes of Malcolm X and Rosa Parks.
In an act of desperation, the city is looking at all potential avenues where they can cut spending to stop the bleeding and the historic landmark has been eyeballed on the radar.
Via Hello Beautiful:
Here’s a snapshot of the Wright’s current status:
Detroit went from contributing more than $2 million annually to the museum’s budget of roughly $7 million to–post-recession–offering $900,000 to a current budget of $4.5 million.
A majority of funding previously came from the city’s auto industry philanthropies, but provisions have been drastically lower from some, such as GM, and non-existent from others like former benefactor, Chrysler.
In addition to a wave of salary cuts and even larger staff cuts, the museum has had to turn to non-traditional partnerships with external groups.
Museum membership has dropped from 20,000 to 7,000 in recent years, a decline attributed to the lack of foundation money covering school children’s memberships.
The African-American auction struggle has even reached the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. family as his children are currently at odds over a few items considered sacred to many.
Chances are The Wright won’t be obtaining them. “I don’t think we can sustain it without support from the city, I don’t think we can,” Wright CEO Juanita Moore told Al Jazeera.
Check out the gallery to just see a few of the exhibits the museum stands to lose if this indeed becomes a last resort.
Photo: Facebook/Instagram, Charles H. Wright Museum