Alexandria, VA — In the final days of 2015, Alfred Street Baptist Church (ASBC), one of the nation’s oldest historically African American churches located in Alexandria, Virginia, announced that it is pledging to donate $1 million to the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).
As such, the $1 million donation to the museum is the largest from a faith-based organization to date, thus allowing the church to be designated as a founding donor of the museum.
Scheduled to open in the fall of 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, DC adjacent to the Washington Monument, the museum will be a place where visitors can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to the lives of the American people, and how it helped shape this nation.
Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, the esteemed pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church said:
“We are very proud and honored to make this contribution to a museum that promises to contribute immensely to the knowledge base of African American history and culture.
This historic attraction will be an astounding and visionary force in our communities and lives for decades to come. More importantly, we as a church, understand the importance of learning about the accomplishments of African American people. Therefore, we realize that if we don’t tell and preserve our own history, our children will never know their real value.”
Accepting the donation on behalf of the Smithsonian’s NMAAHC was Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the museum, who said, “We are honored to have the support of Alfred Street Baptist Church, an institution that has generously served its community for more than 200 years and whose support will help ensure that the museum fulfills its mission to tell the American story through an African American lens.”
James McNeil, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Alfred Street Baptist Church, continued:
“We are pleased to be the first faith-based organization to contribute $1 million to this magnificent cultural development. I challenge others in the faith-based community to follow suit to ensure that the history of African Americans will be celebrated and shared with everyone regardless of their background. The story of our country’s greatness cannot be told without sharing how we live and work together to help America thrive.”