Former Mayor L. Douglas Wilder dismisses recent calls to bring the National Slavery Museum, currently slated to be built in Fredericksburg, to Richmond on a local political blog, VirginiaTomorrow.com, maintained by Bob Holsworth, political science professor and former dean of the College of Humanities & Sciences at VCU.
A flurry of unfavorable press attention last month uncovered the fact that the museum was $25,000 behind on property taxes in Fredericksburg, where the museum site sits undeveloped.
“There has been no contact of any kind from anyone officially representing the City of Richmond to which I was called upon to respond,” Wilder says, “not [sic] have I had any discussions with anyone relative to any other location for the museum other than where it is officially located,” he writes.
Wilder, founder and chairman of the National Slavery Museum, has yet to publicly address recent questions about the museum's finances, or the calls for relocation to Richmond. His commentary appeared on Holsworth's blog on Wednesday. Holsworth and Wilder, who currently teaches publicly policy at VCU, have a long affiliation, dating to the mid-1990s when they taught political science classes together.
Holsworth left the university last year amid the controversy surrounding former Police Chief Rodney Monroe's bachelor's degree, which he received after taking only six credits at the university. An internal investigation concluded that the degree violated the school's graduation requirements.
Wilder writes that beyond not having been contacted by Richmond officials seeking to move the museum here, he is not convinced the city is in a financial position to host it.
“I think I know a little something about the City of Richmond's finances,” he writes. “With revenues expected to be less than contemplated, it should seem unimaginable that the City would consider public dollars for any museum at this time, not would the Board ask them to do so.”