The African American Heritage Foundation of Southeastern North Carolina (AAHMSENC) will explain the African American experience in the perspective of North Carolina and America's history. It will be a storehouse for antiques and memorabilia, a venue for touring exhibitions, and a hub for education, cultural enrichment, and entertainment for people of all ages, recounting the tales that have defined our community's rich legacy.
The Museum is dedicated to increasing public awareness of African Americans' lives and contributions across disciplines; developing and presenting educational programs; and establishing a living and permanent museum in Wilmington to honor and celebrate the cultural impact African Americans have had on American society.
Museums serve three vital functions: preservation, education, and contributing to the social fabric of the community in which they are located. AAHMW seeks to form alliances with existing institutions and collaborate closely with other preservation organizations to improve physical access and historical interpretation for both tourists and inhabitants. The arts will play an important part in telling the African and African-American stories, leading to more possibilities for current artists to be promoted.
The museum will create and promote partnerships with local arts groups to host film screenings, dance performances, concerts, poetry readings, plays, and art exhibitions involving African-American artists. As a result, it will not be only a structure to keep relics and historical books, but rather a dynamic institution that will expand the value of the area.
The Community Health Foundation bought the Richter building in 2001 to provide services to people on the north side areas. The premise was sound, but the foundation's requested public funding never materialized. Over the years, a significant number of historic structures have been lost to redevelopment.
The idea was born to create an African–American Heritage Museum. The African-American Heritage Foundation of Southeastern North Carolina (AAHFSENC) was founded in February of the following year. A private individual acquired the Richter building at public auction in May and is leasing it to the foundation.
To give time for a capital campaign, the foundation has a right of first refusal to acquire within a three-year term. The foundation's main aims are to raise public understanding of African Americans' lives and accomplishments throughout disciplines, as well as to establish a living and permanent museum in Wilmington, North Carolina.
In 2007, the foundation launched a massive fundraising effort to begin the process of study and discovery, as well as the task of maintaining and renovating the structure in order to construct a museum on the site.
Wilmington's black Christian churches bear witness to tenacity in the face of racism, poverty, illiteracy, and a lack of political participation. Against the backdrop of a shifting political, social, and economic landscape, black churches have thrived and grown.
Despite several fires, financial issues, and shifting Ministers and congregations, black churches have effectively moved into the twenty-first century. They are now bright and vigorous, standing tall in old Wilmington. Historic Wilmington's black churches have a long history of pre-Civil War congregations growing into modern-day structures.
The fifteen churches exhibit a wide range of architectural styles. Despite the fact that several of these churches were frequently burned down, the congregations remained strong, rebuilding and repairing as needed. The original 1858 edifice of Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church still stands, while First Baptist Missionary Church displays its original Bible, which miraculously survived a horrific fire.
Saint Phillip's AME Zion and First Baptist Church both have beautiful stained glass windows. Many of these churches have Old Wilmington Foundation plaques, and some have kept their historic bells.