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Civil Rights Museum Hosts Telethon, Gala To Raise Money

Volunteers at International Civil Rights Center & Museum telethon
Naomi Prioleau
In front of a photo of the "A&T Four," volunteers took phone calls from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wed., Feb. 1, 2017 to raise money for the International Civil Rights Center & Museum.

For 12 hours in the lobby of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro on Wednesday, volunteers took the phone calls of supporters wanting to donate money.

CEO John Swaine said the museum, which opened seven years ago, has come a long way despite its share of financial challenges.

“We're getting closer and closer to the point where we are able to focus on our monthly operations and not the capital side of the organization so it's getting into much better shape,” he said.

About 70,000 people visit the museum each year. Swaine said tickets range from $10 and $12, and with some visitors getting in for free, they always need to raise money.

“A $12, $10 ticket doesn’t always pick up the slack and you’re going to hear that at any museum,” he said. “But the museum is making significant progress.”

CEO John Swaine
Credit Naomi Prioleau / WUNC
International Civil Rights Center & Museum CEO John Swaine said the museum is making progress with its finances. The museum had a 12-hour telethon on Wed., Feb 1, 2017 and will have its annual fundraising gala this Saturday.

In addition to the telethon, the museum will also have its annual fundraising gala this weekend. Swaine said the goal of both events is to raise between $50,000 and $100,000.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring more people to the downtown are to help us raise money to carry the museum throughout the entire year,” he said.

The gala will honor American civil rights activist Diane Nash.

Swaine said while protesting is effective, society needs to remember that important landmarks, such as the museum, stand as a “testament to the progress that the country has made.”

“People are beginning to understand that landmarks like this must be supported because if you ignore them, these reminders go away,” he said.  “When they go away, it's like out of sight out of mind and then all of the sudden you start losing some of your  civil and human rights.”

Naomi P. Brown joined WUNC in January 2017.
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