The Moore Charitable Foundation Pledges $1.5 Million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The Donation Will Support “The Power of Place” Exhibition
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture received a $1.5 million donation from Louis Moore Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation. The museum is expected to open in fall 2016. The gift will directly support “The Power of Place,” one of the museum’s inaugural exhibitions, a portion of which explores the origin of rice cultivation along the southeastern seaboard of the United States.
“The power of place is an important theme in the history and culture of African Americans, and we are proud to have the support of the Moore Charitable Foundation as we come closer to completing our home on the National Mall,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the museum. “This donation builds momentum and adds a new level of anticipation as we seek to tell America’s story through the lens of the African American experience.”
The exhibit about the rice fields of South Carolina’s low country will be located within “The Power of Place” exhibition. Enslaved Africans and African Americans cultivated rice along the southeastern seaboard of the United State for hundreds of years. The transformation of the landscape along this coast is a story of great creativity and cruel coercion, in which the culture, knowledge and skills that enslaved people brought with them from Africa played formative roles. The reverberations of this process continue to shape the region’s environment, culture and social life.
“It is crucial to preserve the stories of the rice fields of the low country because they hold important lessons for today,” said Louis Moore Bacon, founder and chairman of the Moore Charitable Foundation. “We hope this exhibition will encourage people of all ages to learn about the significance of these places and value our shared history.”
Bacon is a direct descendent of Roger Moore, the original 18th-century owner of Orton Plantation, the northernmost rice plantation in the low country. As the owner of Orton Plantation Holdings, Bacon is the driving force behind efforts to re-establish heirloom agricultural production on those lands. Orton Plantation Holdings purchased the plantation home and tracts of surrounding forest in November 2010, and Bacon soon initiated environmental restoration and historical preservation efforts.
Many acres of rice fields have been lost over the years due to storm erosion and wave action from ships, but ongoing work to renew Orton’s fields will preserve the historic use of the land and maintain a key link to America’s past. Recent archaeological excavation efforts at Orton Plantation revealed for the first time the remains of the lost Kendal Plantation, a site originally founded in the 1720s by Roger Moore. The site is also a testament to the heartache, sacrifice and accomplishment of all enslaved African Americans.
About the Museum
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by an Act of Congress through legislation signed into law in 2003 by President George W. Bush. Scheduled to open in 2016, the museum is under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on a five-acre tract adjacent to the Washington Monument. Upon completion, NMAAHC will become the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural institution devoted exclusively to exploring and documenting the African American story and its impact on American history. For more information, visit the museum’s website at nmaahc.si.edu.
About the More Charitable Foundation
Louis Bacon is the chairman of the Moore Charitable Foundation Inc. (MCF) and its affiliate foundations. Founded by Bacon in 1992, MCF supports conservation nonprofits that focus on protecting threatened landscapes, habitats and water bodies. MCF also supports educational and community programs in specific geographic priority areas.