The Cameron Legacy-Builders Society

JCinABHM

Until his death in 2006, Dr. James Cameron personally told the story of his narrow escape as a teenager from death by lynching to many ABHM visitors. He felt God saved him to help America live up to its ideals of liberty and justice for all. He became an early civil rights pioneer, factory worker and store owner, historian and author, museum founder, and father of five college educated children.

Through the generosity of individuals, foundations, organizations and corporations, America’s Black Holocaust Museum honors and memorializes people of African heritage in United States as the resilient survivors of a holocaust – and major contributors to our country’s economic, social, and cultural development.

ABHM also pays tribute to the contributions, past and present, of all those working to advance racial justice, repair, and reconciliation.

Dr. James Cameron addressed US Senators and descendants of lynching victims in Washington DC, 2005.

Members of the Legacy-Builders Society commit themselves to carrying the racial repair and reconciliation work of ABHM founder, Dr. James Cameron, into the future by making a regular gift of sustaining support.

Your annual tax-deductible charitable gift helps bring world-class exhibitions, public education and programming to national and global audiences, and provides critical support to our museum operations.

On behalf of the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation Board of Directors and staff, we thank you for your commitment and investment in the ongoing work of racial repair and reconciliation.

To become a Legacy-Builders, please contact Karen Coy-Romano, Campaign Counsel, at 414-964-1843 or kcoyromano (at) sbcglobal.net.

 

 

 


Other ways to contribute:




Karen Coy-Romano, Campaign Counsel

414-964-1843

kcoyromano (at) sbcglobal.net

Thank you so much for your generous support!

*ABHM is operated by the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation Inc., a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Unrestricted gifts are accepted at all levels and are tax-deductible.

My First Visit to ABHM

GRIOT: Richard Prestor, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Richard Prestor as he appeared when he first visited the museum in 1988.

An article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel announced the opening date of a new museum; America’s Black Holocaust Museum. “What is that about?” I wondered, “And what is a Black Holocaust?” There was something written about lynching. Lynching? I was not sure that word had ever been said aloud by any teacher in all my grade school or high school years. Now this Mr. Cameron says that he actually survived being lynched. I had to meet him and see his museum. A few weeks later, in July 1988, I arrived at the museum. The building’s address was on Wright Street, just a few yards west of N. Doctor M.L. King Drive. A sign identified the building as the Sultan Muhammad Islamic Center. I saw no sign for the museum. After knocking on the Wright street door, a young man opened it and slowly looked me up and down as I asked him if the Black Holocaust Museum was there. He simply nodded and pointed me up a set of stairs a few feet away.

The stairway opened into an expansive, open, second-floor room, with large windows facing east. Across the old hardwood floor, an elderly, gentle-looking man was walking toward me. His was not the broadly smiling approach of a public attraction manager, but rather, Mr. Cameron came forward with the easy, amiable walk of someone greeting a recently-made friend. His smile was warm and welcoming.

James Cameron in his new museum at its dedication in 1988. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

I said, “Hi. I came to see your museum.” He introduced himself as we shook hands, and he thanked me for coming. He asked how I had heard about his museum, and I told of the article, explaining that I knew nothing more about it. He nodded and asked if I had a little time to talk. “Sure,” I replied.

I noticed that the large room had no other visitors and there were few exhibits. There were three or four big glass display cases, maybe six or seven feet tall [as I seem to remember them now], plus some poster sized photographs.

James Cameron revisiting the jail cell in Marion, Indiana, from which he was dragged by a mob to the lynching tree on which two friends had already been hanged on August 7, 1930. Johnson Publishing Co.

Mr. Cameron began telling me his story, pretty much from the beginning, as we slowly walked toward one of the display cases. He was not describing events, like a lecturer might; he was retelling personal memories, as if he was recounting old details and emotions with a friend.

Being a complete stranger to him, I felt a little awkward about that at first, but the more we walked and he talked, the more I became aware that he was not saying anything angry or bitter about his painful past. He was quietly happy to just have someone willing to listen and be supportive. He wanted people to learn and understand.

We never stopped at any particular display case to discuss items within. I asked only simple questions relating to his story. We drifted slowly around. He occasionally pointed to a photo or mentioned some item that related, but telling the story was all important.

With his book, A Time of Terror: A Survivor's Story, circa 1994. Courtesy of the Cameron Family.

With his book, A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story, circa 1994. Courtesy of the Cameron Family.

Nearing the end, Mr. Cameron said he had written his story and published a book titled, A Time of Terror. Realizing that I’d already been visiting for over twenty minutes and would need to leave soon, I asked if I could buy his book right there. He smiled a Yes and went to get a copy.

Returning with it, he asked if he could sign it for me.   He was a humble gentleman.

On the title page, he wrote,

I treasure my early visit with him, and I’ve kept his special book in a safe place ever since.

Join abhm this wednesday for a book talk @ the villard square library!

Meet Reggie Jackson, Robert S. Smith and Fran Kaplan, co-contributors to the third edition of A Time of Terror: A Survivor's Story

Meet Reggie Jackson, Robert S. Smith and Fran Kaplan, co-contributors to the third edition of A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story

Join us this Wednesday, December 14th from 6:00- 7:00 p.m. at the Villard Square Library for a book talk on Dr. Cameron’s autobiography A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story. Meet Reggie Jackson, Robert S. Smith and Fran Kaplan, co-contributors to the third edition of A Time of Terror by the late Dr. James Cameron and the only account of a lynching ever written by a survivor. The program will include readings from the book, an explanation of how it came to be, and a discussion of its relevance for today’s readers. A book signing by the co-contributors will follow the event.

Read more Breaking News here

Dr. Cameron’s Memoir To Be Presented at SE Wisconsin Festival of Books 11/4/16

tot-cover-wippy-seal“Have you ever watched one man die and then another, knowing that your turn was next? Have you ever looked into ten thousand angry faces whose open mouths screamed for your blood? Have you ever felt yourself in the hands of such a mob whose sole purpose was to destroy you?

All of these things and more happened to me several years ago. This I acknowledge not boastfully but humbly, for the fact that I am alive to tell this story is due to a power greater than myself or any man.

It is an established fact that people learn a great deal quickly when caught in traumatic events. The things I believed I learned, as well as the unforgettable events themselves, are the reasons why this book has been written.”

Thus begins the extraordinary memoir, A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story, written by the only person ever to survive a lynching. Just as Anne Frank’s Diary reveals the intimate personal experiences of a teenager trying to make sense of Nazi terror, James Cameron’s book shares his journey growing up during the Jim Crow era, living through its worst forms of racial violence, and retaining his faith in the promise of America.

Fran Kaplan (L) and Reggie Jackson (R) accepting the Silver IPPY medals on May 10, 2016, in Chicago. They are two of four authors who contributed the additional materials included in A Time of Terror's 3rd edition.

Fran Kaplan (L) and Reggie Jackson (R) accepting the Silver IPPY medals on May 10, 2016, in Chicago. They are two of four authors who contributed the additional materials included in A Time of Terror’s 3rd edition.

This uplifting story of a life courageously and well lived has been re-released in a greatly expanded 3rd edition by LifeWrites Press, the publishing imprint of the nonprofit Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation. Proceeds from the book’s sales support the Foundation and its educational programs, including America’s Black Holocaust Museum.

Authors who contributed to the award-winning new edition – Dr. Robert S. Smith, Reggie Jackson, and Dr. Fran Kaplan – will talk about the book and the life and legacy of its late author, a civil rights pioneer and the founder of ABHM.

PLACE: Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books – University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, Room N125

DATE/TIME: Saturday, November 5, 2016, from 4:00-5:00pm. Book signing and sale follows the talk in the same room from 5:00-5:30pm.

The panel presentation, also featuring author and photographer, Mark Speltz, and civil rights activist and poet, Margaret Rozga, is called Up North: Images and Incidents in the African American Freedom Struggle.

Read excerpts from A Time of Terror here. Purchase the book online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as at independent booksellers like Milwaukee’s Boswell Books.

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Time of Terror Book Talks & Exhibits in June 2016

Want to learn more about ABHM’s award winning book, see its newest traveling exhibit, hear talks by its griots?

There are several great opportunities in Milwaukee this month!

You aren’t in Milwaukee, but would like to have a speaker come to your group? Click here for a Griot To Go!

JUNE 13-23 – MUSEUM EXHIBIT and BOOK TALK at MILWAUKEE CITY HALL

Rotunda, City Hall

200 E Wells St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

8:00am to 5:00pm weekdays

Fran Kaplan (L) and Reggie Jackson (R) accepting the Silver IPPY medals on May 10, 2016, in Chicago. They are two of four authors who contributed the additional materials included in A Time of Terror's 3rd edition.

Fran Kaplan (L) and Reggie Jackson (R) accepting the Silver IPPY medals on May 10, 2016, in Chicago. They are two of four authors who contributed the additional materials included in A Time of Terror’s 3rd edition.

– EXHIBIT: The Life and Writings of Dr. James Cameron, an America’s Black Holocaust Museum’s traveling exhibit, will be on display for the public weekdays from June 13-23.

– BOOK TALK / SALE / SIGNING: June 16 – 2:00pm

In conjunction with the exhibit at City Hall, ABHM Head Griot and Time of Terror contributing author Reggie Jackson will speak about the book in the Rotunda. The book will be available for sale and author signing following the talk until 4:00pm.

Sponsored by the Milwaukee Public Library.

JUNE 25-30 – EXHIBIT and TALK at MOBILITY MATTERS / MOBILE DESIGN BOX

Mobile Design Box (UWM – School of Architecture and Urban Planning)

1551 North Water  (Water and East Pleasant Streets)

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

– EXHIBIT: The VIRTUAL Museum and Writings of Dr. James Cameron, an ABHM traveling exhibit, will be on display for the public daily from June 25-30.

– PRESENTATION / DEMONSTRATION: June 25 – 6:00-8:00pm 

In conjunction with the above exhibit at the Mobile Design Box,  A Time of Terror contributing authors Dr. Fran Kaplan, Dr. Robert Smith, and Reggie  Jackson will demonstrate and talk about America’s Black Holocaust virtual (entirely online) Museum and answer the questions:

– BOOK SALE / SIGNING – A Time of Terror will be available for purchase at the event and the contributors will sign books from 7:30-8:00pm.

The exhibit, talk, and book sale/signing are open and free to the public. For more information, visit www.milwaukeeartsbarge.org or www.reciprocitymke.com.

These events are part of the Mobility Matters exhibition, which highlights a series of projects, collaborative practices, and community issues that are transforming the social fabric of the Midwest.

JUNE 27 – BOOK TALK / SALE / SIGNING at BOSWELL BOOK COMPANY

7:00 pm

Boswell Book Company

2559 N. Downer Ave.

Milwaukee, WI 53211

JCinABHM

Dr. James Cameron, lynching survivor, civil rights activist, and founder of America’s Black Holocaust Museum.

Fran Kaplan and Robert Samuel Smith, editors and coauthors of the Introduction to James Cameron’s A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story, 3rd edition, will present a reading and audio-visual talk: The Life, Times and Accomplishments of Dr. James Cameron, a Milwaukee hero and early civil rights pioneer.

Dr. Fran Kaplan serves as coordinator of the virtual America’s Black Holocaust Museum. She has been an educator, social worker, writer, and racial justice activist for nearly five decades. Fran has created and run nonprofit and for profit organizations that address issues from women’s health and farmworker rights to nurturing parenting, early childhood education, and peace-building.

Dr. Robert Samuel Smith is Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Inclusion & Engagement, the Director of the Cultures & Communities Program, and Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He teaches courses on African American History, Multicultural America, African Americans and the Law, and U.S. Legal History. He is author of the book Race, Labor and Civil Rights, and contributes a monthly column to Milwaukee Magazine.

Drs. Kaplan and Smith will be joined in the book signing by the late Dr. Cameron’s son, Virgil, and his protégé and book contributor, Reggie Jackson. The event is cosponsored by America’s Black Holocaust Museum.