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Scottsboro Boys Museum In Trouble

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The Scottsboro Boys Museum is in trouble. The dedication and formal opening was February 1, 2010 (although they were accepting visitors late last year) at their historic location, Joyce Chapel United Methodist Church. We were just there a couple of weeks ago:

Scottsboro Boys Museum, Scottsboro AL

It's a small museum, put together neatly, and it's much-needed here. How many people haven't heard of the Scottsboro Boys? So it'd be pretty natural to expect something more than a historical marker. After all, the case went all the way to the US Supreme Court (which later led to rulings on defendants receiving effective counsel and another about jury composition).
Scottsboro Boys Museum, Scottsboro AL

One of my friends has the blog Left in Alabama (if you're not ultra-political, me neither!! but this part is important...) and she received a letter from the museum board which read in
part:


The Museum is in urgent need of your assistance once again. ... The doors of the historical church have been open for the last three months with programs and activities. Officially, today is the first day the Museum is open for viewing. However, we are in danger of losing the building to an "anonymous buyer." The United Methodist Church has informed us that someone else is interested in purchasing the building and is ready to present them with a check for the entire $75,000. To date we have raised $42,500 for the purpose of purchasing and sustaining the museum.

Let us remind you that the church stood empty until the Foundation became interested in it for the purpose of the Museum.

We are concerned that the only reason the "anonymous buyer" is interested in the church is to keep the Museum out.


Scottsboro Boys Museum, Scottsboro AL

Sure enough, in yesterday's Daily Sentinel (Scottsboro's paper) they had an article:


The Scottsboro-Jackson County Multicultural Heritage Foundation is attempting to purchase the historic church that is now the home of the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center.

Executive Committee member Sheila Washington told the Scottsboro City Council Monday night the foundation wants to buy Joyce Chapel.

The church is currently owned by the Northeast District of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Washington said District Superintendent Rev. Tom Bell has given the foundation a week to purchase the church.

Appraised at $125,000, the foundation can buy the church for $75,000, according to Washington.

“We just received $37,500 from the Jackson County Legislative Delegation for the purchase,” Washington told council members. “We hope you can help.”

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Council member Gary Speers said an anonymous buyer is also interested in buying the church.

“This can be a business deal, rather than just giving to the community,” Speers, also a member of the museum board, said. “Monies through donations and contributions are coming in. We just need to have the deal signed, sealed and delivered. If there’s a way to secure the funds, the organization can pay it back.”

Council President Matthew Hodges said he would like to see the city do something to assist.

“We need to come up with some type of proposal for our next work session,” Hodges said.

Scottsboro Boys Museum, Scottsboro AL

Seriously, they have a *week* to come up with the money to buy the church or else it may be sold to an anonymous buyer?

Donations may be sent to:
The Scottsboro Boys museum and Cultural Center
PO Box 1557
Scottsboro, AL 35768

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