FREDERICKSBURG, Va., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- With the backing of comedian Bill Cosby, the U.S. National Slavery Museum has begun a fundraising drive to build the facility in Fredericksburg, Va.
Museum founder and Richmond, Va., Mayor Douglas Wilder, along with longtime friend and museum supporter Cosby, asked each American to contribute $8 toward the effort, the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch said.
Wilder, a former Virginia governor, has said he wants to raise $200 million to build and endow the museum, the newspaper said Friday. During the summer, organizers said they collected more than $50 million in cash and pledges.
A spokeswoman for the public relations firm representing the museum said the goal of the announcement was to both raise money and awareness of the project, the Times-Dispatch said.
Museum officials hope to open a portion of the museum next year, the newspaper said. When the museum's board first decided in 2001 to build the facility in Fredericksburg, Wilder said he hoped to open the museum in time for commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown next year.