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Charleston Business

The International African American Museum Names Grady L. Crosby as Board Chair

May 06, 2024 02:41PM ● By David Dykes

The International African American Museum (IAAM) board has elected Grady L. Crosby as its new board chair, succeeding Wilbur E. Johnson. 

Johnson is a founding board member of IAAM and served as board chair for 12 years following the term of U.S. Representative James E. Clyburn, D-South Carolina.

Crosby’s election comes just months after the museum was named one of the Top Ten Best New Museums in the nation. Since its opening in June 2023, the IAAM in Charleston, South Carolina, has welcomed more than 135,000 visitors.

“Grady's staunch commitment to the mission and values of IAAM began long before he joined the board almost six years ago,” said Tonya Matthews, Ph.D., CEO of the museum. “His 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.”

Crosby will continue the work done by Johnson, who in partnership with former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley shepherded the museum through crucial formative years. 

During Johnson’s tenure as board chair, the museum experienced record-fundraising and completed a multi-million-dollar construction project to give Charleston a fully functional operating museum of international significance.

“I’m honored to have been elected as chair during this exciting period of growth and operational maturity for the IAAM," Crosby 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 added, "We have a dynamic group of board directors who are committed to creating an environment within the IAAM where all can learn, be inspired, and build bridges to generations of people who were unable to tell their story.” 

Crosby, a native of Winston-Salem, N.C., received his bachelor's degree in political science and business administration from Howard University and his Juris Doctorate degree from Wake Forest University School of Law. 

He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he serves as vice-president, chief sustainability and impact officer for Northwestern Mutual. 

He serves on the boards of Marcus Performing Arts Center, Visit Milwaukee, Wisconsin Policy Forum, and the Wisconsin Center District.

The International African American Museum explores the history, culture, and impact of the African American journey on Charleston, the nation, and the world, shining light and sharing stories of the diverse journeys, origin, and achievements of descendants of the African Diaspora.

 Across 11 galleries and a memorial garden with art, objects, artifacts, and multi-media interaction, IAAM is a champion of authentic, empathetic storytelling of American history. 

The museum will stand as one of the nation’s newest platforms for the disruption of institutionalized racism as it evolves today. 

The mission of IAAM is to honor the untold stories of the African American journey at the historically sacred site of Gadsden’s Wharf and beyond. 

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