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What is America's Black Holocaust Museum?

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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2016
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America's Black Holocaust Museum is the only museum in the US dedicated to the history of slavery. Located centrally in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the America's Black Holocaust Museum was created to promote racial understanding and to remember those who suffered and died through the many decades of racial discrimination. America's Black Holocaust Museum is open to the public every day except Sunday, which is reserved for large groups.

The America's Black Holocaust Museum was created by James Cameron, who in 1930 survived an attempted lynching. Cameron, together with two other 16-year-olds, was accused by the public of murdering a white man in the town of Marion, Indiana. The authorities never intervened, and let the locals carry on with the beating and lynching of the teenagers. Cameron was the only one who survived. He went on to fight for civil rights, and was actively involved in the racial equality movement of the 40s and 50s. Cameron eventually relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and founded the America's Black Holocaust Museum in 1988. James Cameron died in June 2006.

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The America's Black Holocaust Museum offers visitors a chance to revisit a troubled past. Along with several permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts traveling shows, including photographic collections by prominent artists. Among the most notable permanent collections is "The Middle Passage: A Voyage to Slavery," a true-to-life recreation of a slave ship; and the Strange Fruit: Lynching in America, which gives visitors a chance to see the brutal reality that many people lived through just a few decades ago. The museum also hosts special events throughout the year. Performances by the African American Children’s Theater, silent auctions, and other events are frequently hosted at the museum.

The museum's store feels more like an extension of the museum rather than a shop. Authentic African art is up for sale, along with books, videos, and posters. For those wishing to get involved, America's Black Holocaust Museum is always looking for tour guides, who the museum calls griots, an African word meaning storytellers, and for volunteers, who can help out with different small jobs around the museum's grounds.

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