International African American Museum to Receive Riley Institute Award Recognizing Landmark Collaborative Achievement in SC

Jacki Martin
Deputy Director
The Riley Institute at Furman University

Keisha Kirkland
Public and Community Relations Manager
International African American Museum




 The museum will be recognized with the OneSouthCarolina Partners in Progress Award during the Building OneSouthCarolina Forum on May 10 in Columbia.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Furman University’s Riley Institute has announced that the International African American Museum will be honored with the 2023 OneSouthCarolina Partners in Progress Award, which recognizes a landmark collaborative achievement contributing significantly to social and economic progress in South Carolina.

The award will be presented by former U. S. Secretary of Education and two-term S.C. Governor Dick Riley at the Building OneSouthCarolina Forum on Wednesday, May 10, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The forum is a sister event to the Riley Institute’s Riley-Wilkins OneSouthCarolina Legislative and Civic Leadership Awards, which occurs each January.

The International African American Museum explores cultures and knowledge systems retained and adapted by Africans in the Americas and the diverse journeys and achievements of these individuals and their descendants in South Carolina, the United States, and throughout the African Diaspora. It honors the untold stories of the African American journey at the historically sacred site of Gadsden’s Wharf, where many enslaved Africans first arrived in this nation.

The museum’s programming will include significant public education opportunities and resources, including K-12 curriculum, field trip experiences, and digital content for K-12 learners and educators. Museum staff have engaged thousands of people with its community programming in recent years, and it is scheduled to open to the public on June 27th.

During the forum, key stakeholders who have driven the museum’s creation will speak about its origins, successes, challenges, and hopes for the future. Dr. Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute, said he believes the IAAM offers valuable takeaways from which other communities may benefit.

“An important part of the conversation about the International African American Museum lies in how ‘place’ can be used to inform history and advance social justice. That is, how do museums and monuments and memorials and historical markers illuminate stories of the past – those of African Americans and of many other people — and influence how individuals and communities think about their futures? Every town in our state has stories to tell and something to gain in the telling of it,” Gordon said.

The Building OneSouthCarolina Forum begins with a continental breakfast at 9 a.m. The forum and award presentation follow at 9:30 a.m. Tickets are $35 each and may be purchased by visiting Table sponsorships are also available.


About the Riley Institute at Furman University

Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, hosting expert speakers to broaden perspectives on critical issues, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. To learn more or attend the event, visit