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International African American Museum Elects New Board Chair

Diverse board meeting celebration.

International African American Museum Elects New Board Chair

The International African American Museum (IAAM) based in Charleston announced the election of Grady L. Crosby as their newly elected board chair. Crosby succeeds Wilbur E. Johnson following his 12-year tenure.

Crosby’s election comes at an exciting time for the museum, following their recent accolade as one of the Top Ten Best New Museums in the nation. Since its grand opening in June 2023, the IAAM has witnessed an impressive over 135,000 visitors.

Reflecting on Crosby’s Appointment

Dr. Tonya Matthews, CEO of the museum, lavished praise on Crosby’s long-standing dedication to their cause. “Grady’s staunch commitment to the mission and values of IAAM began long before he joined the board almost six years ago,” she said. Matthews added that Crosby’s “wealth of non-profit board experience and passion for what we do will provide inspiring leadership for the museum and its board as we move forward into this next generation of the IAAM journey.”

Predecessor and founding member, Wilbur Johnson worked alongside former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, steering the museum through crucial formative years. Their collaboration saw record-breaking fundraising and the completion of a multi-million dollar construction project, which has placed Charleston on the global museum map.

Looking Ahead

Crosby expressed his honor at becoming the board chair during such an exhilarating period of growth and operational maturity for the IAAM. He said, “Charleston is now home to one of the world’s most significant cultural institutions chronicling the African diaspora, and I look forward to building upon the foundation created by so many in this community who envisioned the success of this project.”

Crosby hails from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is a highly educated individual with a bachelor’s degree in political science and business administration from Howard University and his Juris Doctorate degree from Wake Forest University School of Law. Crosby largely resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he serves as vice-president, chief sustainability and impact officer for Northwestern Mutual. He also contributes to various boards including Marcus Performing Arts Center, Visit Milwaukee, Wisconsin Policy Forum, and the Wisconsin Center District.

About the International African American Museum

The International African American Museum (IAAM) explores the rich and diverse history, culture, and impact of the African American journey. It has significantly influenced Charleston, the nation, and the global community. The museum possesses 11 diverse galleries and a memorial garden filled with artworks, historic objects, artifacts, and interactive multi-media displays. Its mission is to illuminate forgotten and untold African American stories at Gadsden’s historically sacred site. IAAM strives to disrupt institutionalized racism as it exists today and honor the invaluable contributions of the African diaspora.

With its commitment to authenticity, empathetic storytelling, and a mission to share the diverse journeys and achievements of the African diaspora, the museum is a beacon of enlightenment for visitors and an inspiring educational arena for all. The IAAM hopes to continue carrying the same momentum forward, creating a meaningful impact in community building under Crosby’s leadership.

International African American Museum Elects New Board Chair

HERE Charleston
Author: HERE Charleston

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