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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 02/16/2011

Slavery museum in Va. behind schedule

By Washington Post editors

Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder says that the U.S. National Slavery Museum will be built in Fredericksburg despite concerns that the museum owes nearly $150,000 in back taxes and is almost four years behind its scheduled opening.

The Free Lance-Star on Sunday reported that a donor to the museum had raised concerns after hearing reports that that the city of Fredericksburg was starting the process of selling the museum's 38-acre property to collect more than $147,000 in back taxes unpaid since 2008.

Therbia Parker Sr. and his wife had donated leg and wrist shackles once used on slaves to the museum. He told the paper that he had been unable to reach Wilder or find out what had happened to the items he had donated.

On Tuesday night, Wilder, chairman of the board of the museum, sent a e-mail to the paper stating that the museum will be built in Fredericksburg on the land the museum owns.

"I want to say this as plainly and directly as I can: We intend to build the United States National Slavery Museum," Wilder wrote.

Wilder did not address the back taxes the museum owes. He said the donated items are being held safely in storage.

He also blamed the economy on the delay in raising needed funds for the museum.

By Washington Post editors  | February 16, 2011; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Virginia  
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Comments

What a disgrace.

Read the article in the Free Lance Star. The Parkers, who donated artifacts to the museum in 2004, have tried in vain for nearly a year to find out what is happening with this non existent shell game. Frustrated, they tried to get their donated items returned. No one has returned their calls.

In a February 2010 e-mail to Parker, former National Slavery Museum Executive Director Vonita Foster said she had resigned her position, and was unaware of the status of the museum.

The City of Fredericksburg has tried for three years to contact anyone connected with the museum to recover the $147,000 the museum owes Fredericksburg in back taxes, unpaid since 2008.

Yet, every time the heat of public scrutiny rises, Mr Wilder pokes his head out from under a rock to proclaim this museum will be built.

The media needs to get on this story and find out what happened to the funds already raised; what happened to the artifacts good people donated; why the museum is in default on its taxes; and why this charlatan insists everything is fine.

Posted by: ConJob | February 16, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

There are plenty of very well-off black business folks, showbiz types and athletes out there. Pony-up and bring your history to Fredricksburg.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 16, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious as to what they'll sell in the gift shop.

Posted by: luca_20009 | February 16, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse


I would more than welcome this museum because I could brag about my great, great, great, great, grandfather being a conductor on the underground railroad, but I think most people ... black or white or whatever ... don't want to be embarrassed about slavery.

Posted by: polecatx1 | February 16, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

This has been going on forever. The money is gone. Paid out to the people who abandoned ship. When Fredricksburg started looking for the tax money they were accused of racial inproprioties. The truth is hard to find here. Ask the city council. They tried to work with these people. Including Wilder. Study the archives of the Freelance Stare. You will clearly see the unravelling of the organization.

Posted by: nextonuthin | February 16, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse


We have a letter from my great, great, great uncle who was encamped next to what they called the Smoked Yankees and another cousin who attended and wrote home about a church service of the black troops in the field during the War Between the States ... it would be irresponsible to entrust those documents to the care of Wilder.

Posted by: polecatx1 | February 17, 2011 1:46 AM | Report abuse

I am just wondering how Wiler can blame the economy for fundrasing issue when the museum was suppose to open in 2007 when the country was booming

Posted by: JeroRobson1 | February 17, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I am just wondering how Wiler can blame the economy for fundrasing issue when the museum was suppose to open in 2007 when the country was booming since fundrasing is due in the years before the building would have been built

Posted by: JeroRobson1 | February 17, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

There are plenty of very well-off black business folks, showbiz types and athletes out there. Pony-up and bring your history to Fredricksburg.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 16, 2011 4:13 PM |

Why should Black people be financially responsible for a museum about slavery?
Slavery in America should be of historical interest to all Americans and all Virginians in particular.
Also, the history of Blacks in America goes beyond Slavery and for many Blacks, they and their ancestors had no role in it at all.
It seems to me that Virginians are the ones shirking their responsiblity here. The current Governor McDonnell has no problem issuing proclamations in honor of Virginia's Confederate past, but it seems like he and others in power like him, want to forget about Slavery.
McDonnell, Cuccinelli and the rest of the sons of the confederacy should be the ones to be hit up for donations.

Posted by: MarilynManson | February 17, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

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