Alfred Street Baptist Church Donates $1 Million to National Museum of African American History and Culture

November 9, 2015
News Release
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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture announced today that Alfred Street Baptist Church of Alexandria, Va., has donated $1 million to support the capital campaign of the new museum set to open in fall 2016. Launching the museum’s faith-based fundraising campaign, the gift marks a significant milestone for the museum as the largest donation the museum has received from a faith-based organization.

“As a foundation and resource for their communities, faith-based groups have served a critical role in shaping African American progress, leadership, cultural practices and beliefs,” said Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the museum. “We are honored to have the support of Alfred Street Baptist Church, an institution that has generously served its community for more than 200 years and whose support will help ensure that the museum fulfills its mission to tell the American story through an African American lens.”

Alfred Street Baptist Church was founded in 1803. With one of the nation’s oldest historically African American congregations, the church has a long history of supporting its community through education and philanthropy. Several members of the Alfred Street Baptist Church have also individually supported the museum as donors: Earl W. and Amanda Stafford donated $2 million in support of the museum’s Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts; James L. and Juliette McNeil gave $1 million; Craig and Diane Welburn, $1 million; Margaret Pemberton, $300,000; Donna L. Scott, $25,000; Janet Sledge and Gloria Manning, $25,000.

“Alfred Street Baptist Church is both proud and honored to be one of the founding donors of the National Museum of African American History and Culture,” said Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley. “As one of the oldest African American churches in the United States, we certainly understand and recognize not only the significance but also the impact that this museum will have in our rich history. The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be an iconic and inspirational historic attraction that will create a dynamic and visionary force in all of our communities and lives for years to come.”

About the Museum

The National Museum of African American History and Culture broke ground in February 2012 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The 400,000-square-foot building is being built on a five-acre tract adjacent to the Washington Monument at a cost of $540 million. While construction is moving forward, the museum is hosting public programs, organizing traveling exhibitions and producing books and recordings. Its eighth exhibition, “Through the African American Lens: Selections from the Permanent Collection,” is on view in the museum’s temporary gallery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. For more information, visit

About Alfred Street Baptist Church

Established in 1803, Alfred Street Baptist Church is home to the oldest and largest African American congregations in Alexandria, Va. With more than 7,000 members, the church has served as a prominent religious, educational and cultural organization in the Northern Virginia community. The church will celebrate its 212th anniversary Nov. 15 under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley. For more information, visit

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