Governor Tom Vilsack announced the State
of Iowa is awarding $475,000 to the African-American Heritage
Foundation to assist in the construction of the African-American
Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa. The Governor made
the announcement during his remarks at the 1999 NAACP Freedom
Fund Banquet on October 30 in Cedar Rapids. The $2.9 million
project is receiving this investment from Iowas Community
Attraction & Tourism Development program.
Iowa is a culturally rich state and our investment in this
project celebrates Iowas diversity, Governor Vilsack
said. This museum and cultural center will honor the important
role African-Americans play in our society, and provide our visitors
and citizens the opportunity to experience the important contributions
made throughout Iowas history. Joseph McGill, executive
director of the African-American Museum and Cultural Center agreed.
To improve the quality of life of Iowans, it is extremely
important we seize this opportunity and together build this important
center for learning and cultural understanding. The Museum and
the Cultural Center is the first of its kind in Iowa and will
draw visitors from throughout the country. Were very pleased
the state is investing in this important initiative. The
museum will be located in Cedar Rapids.
Already, the African-American Heritage Foundation has raised
over $1 million in support of the project. Once completed, the
14,000-square-foot center will educate Iowans and visitors about
the states rich ethnic background through educational programming,
unique traveling historical exhibits and other vast resources.
The Heritage Foundation hopes that the center will grow to become
one of the largest of its kind in the nation.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the museum was held on December
10, 1999 on the bank of the Cedar River at 1st Street and 12th
Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids.