The African American Cultural Garden was dedicated in 1977 by the late Booker T. Tall, a Cuyahoga Community College black studies teacher, and almost 40 years later, the African American Cultural Garden’s construction has lain mostly dormant as the organizers have most recently attempted to shake off the ineptness and inaction.
After a 2011 unveiling of the Garden’s design, vigorous fundraising began so that the garden, which will include a black granite map of the slave trade, a cascading hillside stream and a fountain designed by architect W. Daniel Bickerstaff, can blossom at last.
Although the garden is finally breaking ground (again),the project is not void of issues. Organizers have raised less than $200,000 of the $550,000 needed for the first phase that will feature that black granite map, says Natoya Walker Minor, chief of public affairs for the city of Cleveland, who is a member of the garden’s task force in charge of safeguarding $250,000 of seed money set aside more than a decade ago by then-Cleveland Mayor Michael White.
Regardless of existing hurdles, I am sure that this groundbreaking will shine a spotlight on this project and hopefully generate strong sponsorship. The type of sponsorship that enabled the other 28 ethnic gardens to conduct successful fundraising drives.
For now, we can keep our fingers crossed and at least enjoy the progress being made with the groundbreaking (details below).. After all, it’s not the size of the step that matters most, but it’s direction..