Miami-Dade Commissioner Asks for Public Funding for Black History Museum

A Miami-Dade Commissioner is asking for public funding for a black history museum, pointing out that other museums backed by wealthy private donors have received public funding.

A Miami-Dade commissioner has said he wants to build a publicly-funded black history museum in the county after supporting a Cuban exile museum.

Commissioner Dennis Moss voted to support the Cuban heritage museum at a July meeting, but on the condition that the commission also endorse a black history museum, according to The Miami Herald.

Moss made the official proposal last week at the commission's Cultural Affairs committee meeting, instructing Mayor Carlos Gimenez to explore using county tax dollars for construction, according to the Herald.

The Cuban exile museum will be built on waterfront land behind the American Airlines Arena. Its organizers will be privately funding the $125 million project.

Moss argued that while Cuban groups could afford to fund a Cuban history museum, the black community does not have the financial means to back the project.

"That's not the route that's going to be practical for a black history museum," Moss said. "A black history museum is going to need public support."

Moss also noted the county has already approved $200 million to build the Perez Art Museum Miami and the Frost science museum, both named for two of Miami's wealthiest citizens - condo developer Jorge Perez and medical research mogul Phillip Frost - reported the Herald.

Cuban museum organizer Nick Gutierrez said his group is all about private dollars, but finds that public funds for a black history museum makes sense.

"He also makes a good argument, which is, 'How do you fund the Frost museum and Perez Art Museum and not the black museum?'" Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said his groups wishes Moss well and welcomes the effort to find public funding.

The Miami-Dade Commission's next budget hearing is Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center.

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