National Civil Rights Museum announces details of tentative lease - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

National Civil Rights Museum announces details of tentative lease

Moments after kicking off a $50 million national fundraising effort Monday morning, officials at the National Civil Rights Museum confirmed they have reached a tentative deal with the state of Tennessee on a new 20-year lease.

"Within the body of that lease agreement will be a memorandum of understanding that addresses the four major areas of concern that were identified by the community," said Beverly Robertson, President of the National Civil Rights Museum.

Those four areas include:

  • Museum maintenance
  • Transparency in reporting and accountability
  • The relationship with the community
  • Board transparency

The lease requires the Museum's board be at least 60% African American.
"We have some ways to go, but we made a lot of progress," D'Army Bailey said.

In 1991, Bailey led the effort to open the museum.  Recently, he has criticized the museum's current operation.  Happy with parts of the new lease, Bailey said the 20-year-deal was too long.

"If you have the right board, then I think a five or even a ten year lease is not unreasonable," he said. "You've got to have term limits. You cannot have the same people continuing to re-elect themselves."

Current board members, like Leonard James, disagreed.

"We believe that those sensitivities that have led to the degree of dialogue have been addressed in the recent agreement that the National Civil Rights Museum and the state of Tennessee has agreed to," James said.

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