Cosby: Let's all give $8 each to build slavery museum
RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- Bill Cosby on Friday called on each American to contribute $8 to help build a national slavery museum amid the battlefields of the Civil War.
Cosby, who already has committed $1 million to the project, joined Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder on Friday in launching a new campaign to raise $100 million toward the Fredericksburg museum's $200 million price tag.
"The incentive is that they would join in with the rest of the United States of America in saying yes, as an American, I gave $8 to help build something that tells the story," he said in a teleconference with Wilder.
In a nation of some 300 million people, even a tepid response would surpass the $100 million goal, Cosby said.
He admitted this kind of campaign "generally fails badly."
"But I'm going to try again because I'm going to present this national slavery museum as a jewel that's missing in a crown."
The campaign marks the latest attempt at fundraising for the U.S. National Slavery Museum, a project in the works for more than a decade.
Wilder struggled to find a location before settling on a site near the Rappahannock River, a region where many Civil War battles were fought.
For Wilder, $8 has symbolic significance in a campaign to create what is billed as the first national museum dedicated solely to telling the story of American slavery.
"The figure 8, in shape, is both of the shackles, which is the symbol of slavery," said Wilder, a former Virginia governor and the grandson of slaves. He thought up the museum concept during a visit to Goree Island, the infamous slave shipping post in West Africa.
"If you turn it on its side, it's the symbol of infinite freedom," he said.
Wilder said the museum has about $50 million on hand.
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