SEATTLE, March 9 (UPI) -- Organizers say the weekend opening of an African-American museum in Seattle realized the long-held dreams of the city's black community.
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels told those attending Saturday's grand opening of the Northwest African American Museum it was 150 years ago that Manuel Lopes became the first African-American to arrive in Seattle, while Congressman Jim McDermott reminded the crowd about the 43 black soldiers wrongly prosecuted following a riot at Fort Lawton in 1944.
The museum, housed in the former site of Colman School, has long been sought by the city's African-American community, The Seattle Times reported Sunday.
"This first leg has gone on for almost 30 years," said Carver Gayton, director of the museum. "We will not end our journey until we can ensure we have an African-American museum at this site in perpetuity."
Gayton said when he started work he had just $4 million, and that amount has grown to $21 million. He said he hopes to start an endowment so that the interest can be used to operate the museum.