Plans to build a $70 million National Juneteenth Museum in Fort Worth, Texas are steadily moving forward, with shovels scheduled to get in the ground later this year and doors opening in time for the national holiday in 2024.
The New York Times is reporting exhibits at the 50,000-square-foot museum designed by the architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group will focus on the June day in 1865 when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas, issued General Order No. 3, telling the people of the state that — in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation — “all slaves are free.”
The later-ratified 13th Amendment abolished slavery in four border states that were not subject to Lincoln’s wartime proclamation.
The museum will have an educational component to help ensure the country does not let slavery “happen again,” according to Opal Lee, the 95-year-old force behind the museum who has been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize for her work.
“And it could, if we’re complacent,” she told the Times.
Lee has for nearly 20 years operated a small Juneteenth Museum on Rosedale Street in Fort Worth that was used as a filming location for the 2020 movie “Miss Juneteenth.”
Planners hope the new museum, nearby at the corner of Rosedale Street and Evans Avenue will help revitalize the area, which went into decline in the 1960s when an interstate highway was built through it.
Plans also include a business incubator to promote Black entrepreneurship, a performance space and a theater, and a food hall featuring cuisine from local vendors — making the area “a corridor for Black commerce” that will draw in new businesses to the area. Just north of the museum site, the city is also developing the $13.2 million Evans & Rosedale Urban Village which will feature apartments and townhouses.
Funding for the museum has been provided by private donations from foundations, individuals and corporations. Planners hope to offer free admission for the projected 35,000 visitors who will stop by in the first year of operation, with a 10 percent increase in visitors each subsequent year, Howard said.
[New York Times] — Vince DiMiceli