Information on Slavery Museum Hard to Get
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A national museum for the study of slavery, spearheaded by the first elected black governor in the United States, is proposed for Fredericksburg.
So how are the plans progressing? What’s the latest construction schedule? What’s the financial plan for building and operating the museum? Has fundraising picked up? Is $200 million the goal? Or is that $300 million? How much money did that major fundraising event in D.C. raise in 2006?
I asked three of our reporters who have worked on this story in recent years to describe museum leaders’ attitudes toward releasing news about the project.
Every one of them documented a pattern of resistance to almost every request. One described the museum and its staff as “an impenetrable fortress.”
The result has been that the public, and in some cases the public’s representatives, have been left in the dark. Even Jud Honaker of the Silver Cos., the developer of the Celebrate Virginia project that would include the museum, has said he doesn’t know where things stand.
A museum staff member literally shut the door in the face of one of our reporters when she arrived at museum offices with a written request to see a financial report the museum is required to make public.
Reporters calling museum offices to speak to the executive director, Vonita Foster, have been told that, “Dr. Foster does not take calls.” They are referred to a Washington PR firm, which, in some cases, has taken days to return our calls. And then there are few answers.
In 2005, when former Gov. Doug Wilder came to Fredericksburg to hold a press conference, the museum staff notified several media outlets from Washington to Richmond, but not The Free Lance-Star. When a museum PR person was asked why the local paper was not notified, he said, “Well, you know, tit for tat,” an apparent reference to our legitimate reporting on questions about the $1 million city loan to the museum.
And that’s not all the public money involved in this project. Gov. Tim Kaine has included a $100,000 appropriation to the museum in his proposed budget. That would bring state support for the museum, which has missed one deadline after another for starting construction, to more than $200,000.
Gerald A. Foster, who has been identified as the “scholar in residence” at the museum and is the husband of the executive director, wrote a letter to the editor last month referring to the “racist diatribes” of the newspaper. In objecting to an editorial cartoon on the museum and the paper’s coverage generally, he criticized “pathetic, malicious, small-minded people.”
Vonita W. Foster, Ph.D, executive director — she doesn’t take calls.
Email Ed Jones at email@example.com.
(Posted on February 21, 2008)
Sounds like a scam - something smells fishy either way…
Posted by Obscuratus at 6:55 PM on February 21
Ah yes, when in doubt howl, “Racism!” It is the surest sign that a black is covering SOMETHING up!!
Posted by HH at 7:19 PM on February 21
Just another publicly funded money-grab brought on by white guilt. I imagine “Dr.” Foster not only employs her husband but probably too many family members to count, in various imaginary exorbitantly paid positions. They know what the press will find fraud, plain and simple, but I have no idea why the museum would fear that. Even if staggering evidence was found we know nothing would be done about it.
Posted by Eric at 7:37 PM on February 21
Sound like the Jena Six legal defense fund, Rainbow Push tax records, Black churches and Black schools. If you donate to a Black cause and ask for accountably, you are a racist. So it is best that you don’t donate in the first place.
Posted by Drifter at 8:47 PM on February 21
Those capable truthful and honest blacks. What would they have to hide??? Surely this is just racism, pure and simple. Why should blacks be expected to behave like whites?? Just racism.
Posted by at 8:49 PM on February 21
They even have a website if you need a good laugh!!
Posted by AvgWhiteGuy at 10:41 PM on February 21
This reminds me of a similar scandal in Gary, Indiana. Former mayor Richard G. Hatcher, over a period of two decades, must have collected millions for a “Civil Rights Hall of Fame,” as reported by the local newspaper, with no museum to show for it (and no accountability).
Posted by Tim in Indiana at 12:45 AM on February 22
Prediction: ten years from now the museum will still not have been built but the black executives in charge will be seen driving luxury cars and sporting fur coats and “bling”.
Posted by Lothrop Stoddard at 1:49 AM on February 22
The museum had a projected opening date last year, which came and went with no explanation. The money is gone. There will be no explanation, anyone who expects one will be called a racist.
Posted by Cliff Yablonski at 6:10 AM on February 22
Strangely enough, a very similar case is happening right now in London, where millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash earmarked to a ‘black rights organization’ disappeared and is causing the Marxist mayor Ken Livingstone a great deal of embarrassment.
The pattern is very familiar - corruption invariably lingers around blacks.
Posted by Kenelm Digby at 6:12 AM on February 22
How much public money is being wasted to attempt to quiet down White Guilt?
Posted by at 6:41 AM on February 22
The executive director of the project has given her husband the job of “scholar in residence”? For a museum that isn’t open, and isn’t likely to be open anytime soon? How much does a “scholar in residence” get payed for such services? I’d wager he is recieving a handsome salary for doing absolutely nothing. This is an obvious scam, any legitimate director of such a project would NEVER hire a family member in order to avoid any hint of impropriety or breach of fiduciary responsibility. Africans are shameless when it comes to lining their own pockets with public donations.
Posted by Cliff Yablonski at 7:19 AM on February 22
The city and state governments gave money for the project, but do not demand any accounting. Waste, corruption, nepotism, and lies. And if whites demand answers, clearly they are racists.
This era of decline will end only when voters select those who demand an accounting from Blacks as they would of whites. Can we expect such a demand from a Hillary, or Obama, or McCain? — — — — HM
Posted by at 7:53 AM on February 22
Exposing black corruption is easy. Look at the number of black mayors who have had national exposure for their activities. The problem is getting them held responsible and punished. Blacks are notorious for circling the wagon. They’re incapable of admitting their leaders are corrupt and even when caught, they could care less. What they see is not their own money and future being squandered. They see ‘the man’ attacking a black man.
OJ, Rodney King, Mariam Berry, et. al. Blacks know they’re all guilty as sin.
The best thing for whites is for blacks to have their own leaders. If whites were in charge, ironically whites would be fighting for equal justice. Black leaders are out for their own. The more black leaders the more blacks fall behind.
In the mind of the blacks it’s always ‘better to rule in hell than serve in heaven’ and ‘he may be a scoundrel but he’s our scoundrel’.
Posted by sbuffalonative at 10:30 AM on February 22
Someone should investigate that brand new Beemer the “director” suddenly could now afford to buy.
Posted by Tidey-Whitey at 10:42 AM on February 22
Why go I get a feeling that if I were to go to MySpace and do a search for “Gerald A. Foster” I’ll see a photo with the man tricked out in bling and a thick stack of thousand dollar bills in his mouth?
Posted by White Interloper at 12:15 PM on February 22
They even have a website if you need a good laugh!!
Laughable is right. Looks like the into to the web site was written by a low-IQ junior high student: it’s riddled with typos, run-on sentences, grammatical and style errors, etc.
Not long ago I was in a Walgreens, in the magazine aisle. I picked up an Ebony magazine, and was absolutely SHOCKED by the writing quality of the “Word from the Editor.”
With proof ever so abundant, how could anyone deny Dr. Watson’s assertions of the obvious?
Posted by from New Orleans at 4:53 PM on February 22
Here is Gerald Foster’s “letter to the editor” response to this newspaper’s reporting: compare with the statement of Madonna Constantine in another article and the similarities are immediately apparent - ad hominem attacks and charges of racism, without any attempt to answer the charges:
Posted by Dave at 5:05 PM on February 22
Oh, my — you aren’t joking about the horrible writing. Maybe they should also sponsor an English language wing at the museum, complete with grammar and mechanics dittos (inhale, everyone!). Some of those dollars surely could have gone to a copy writer and been considered well-spent.
Posted by at 7:04 PM on February 22
Anyone want to contribute to my Black Crime Musuem? Any ideas on exhibits?
Posted by John Conner at 7:26 PM on February 22
No big surprise here. In Greensboro, NC, the local NAACP and black politicos have for years been “tirelessly laboring” on the restoration and conversion into a “Civil Rights Museum” of the old downtown F.W. Woolworth Bldg. where the famous lunch counter sit in staged by NC AT&T University black students ocurred in 1962 or 1963. After many millions of dollars in taxpayer and foundation grants, all they have to show for it is a papered up storefront of a shell of a building on Elm St. and a pile of paid “consultants” and “architects” invoices from minority owned firms.
Posted by underdog at 9:29 PM on February 22
Com’on Jared. When are we going to have a Museum of Caucasian History of Northern Virginia or elsewhere. I think it would be slammed with visitors all day every day.
Posted by at 12:09 AM on February 23
“After many millions of dollars in taxpayer and foundation grants, all they have to show for it is a papered up storefront of a shell of a building on Elm St. and a pile of paid “consultants” and “architects” invoices from minority owned firms.”
Black behavior is universal as is the outcome.
We had the same thing happened with money to restore a 19th century fountain in MLK JR Park. The money just disappeared without anyone being held accountable or investigated. The Buffalo News ran a small blurb five or six sentences long, then nothing.
It also happened with money set aside to revitalize a black business district. After all the money was spent, all they had to show were some plans and sketches.
It’s pointless trying to help blacks.
Posted by sbuffalonative at 10:45 PM on February 23
Average White Guy:
I clicked on the site you posted, and did have a laugh. NOT ONE WORD about who it was who sold African Bantus into slavery in the first place!
Tim in Indiana:
Didn’t Richard Hatcher froth at the mouth every time someone mentioned Gary’s high crime rate? Didn’t he always blame the crime rate on the closure of the steel mills?
Posted by Soprano Fan at 12:12 PM on February 24
No problem, they’ll revert back to the black racist tried and true formula of lieing and making up anti-white slanders and libels. Blacks don’t let lies get in the way of telling their version of racial history.
Posted by Michigan patriot at 6:27 PM on February 24
I nominate Hussein Obama to the Race Hustler Hall of Fame and Alleycat Sharpton as a Living Legend in the Shakedown Industries. Hymie Jackson wins Best Mention in White Guilt Propagandization. Who will you like to see inducted into the Grand Scheme of Special Privelege, maybe Michelle Obama or Whoopi Goldberg? All these folks deserve a special place way south of here.
Posted by Lars at 11:04 PM on February 24
Wow. That website is appalling.
Actual sentence: “To reflect this fact, the facade of the south wall (the Mall side) represents a mask of allusion without specificity towards African influence and design.”
I love it when you can tell the writer has looked up big words in the dictionary. I mean, you can really tell in this sentence that “allusion” and “specificity” just aren’t words that come naturally to this guy (or girl).
BTW, anyone know what the difference is between the US National Slavery Museum and the US Slavery Museum? Besides the former having a superior website?
Posted by at 2:51 AM on February 26
Their expense report may be cluttered with bling purchases.
Posted by at 5:18 PM on February 26