Former Va. gov revives slavery museum vision

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder is resurrecting his decades-long vision of a national slavery museum, proposing a site in the center of Richmond’s former slave-trading center.

Wilder outlined his plan Thursday at a news conference in Richmond. He said the museum would be located in the former home of the First African Baptist Church in the city’s Shockoe Bottom section.

The former church is owned by Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Medical Center. A VCU spokeswoman said that the university did not anticipate Wilder’s announcement.

VCU senior director of public affairs Anne L. Buckley also said “no formal or informal discussions or negotiations” are underway.

Wilder said he was in “preliminary negotiations” regarding the church.

Wilder originally proposed a slavery museum at a site in Fredericksburg. But the museum filed for bankruptcy protection as debt mounted and donations dried up.

Shockoe Bottom has been proposed as the site of a new baseball stadium and economic development project. Some have objected to building a ballpark in a place where humans were once sold into slavery.

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