Donations Helps Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Honor African Americans

A generous donation will help showcase the role African Americans have played in coast history. On Tuesday, the parent company of Grand Casinos donated $250,000 to the new Ohr-O'Keefe museum . Some of the money will pay for artists, to visit local schools. The rest will build a gallery, featuring the artwork and accomplishments of African Americans.

Museum leaders say will give recognition to a group of Americans often overlooked.

"We want to highlight all the interesting and innovative artistic things that Black people brought to Mississippi," said Jerry O'Keefe, the museum's financial chairman. "So much of our history ignores what African Americans have contributed."

The Pleasant Reed House , a house built by a freed slave, will sit next door to African American Gallery. The group that saved the home says the addition of the gallery will help the museum reflect African American culture.

Dora Faison of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority said "It will allow people to learn more about the accomplishments of African Americans along the Gulf Coast not just along the Gulf Coast but some of the strides and things African Americans across the country have done."

The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum is the first in this region to get a donation from Grand Casino's parent company Park Place Entertainment. The Company sees its $250,000 as an investment in the community.

Ohr-O'Keefe museum officials say the $250,000 donation, brings the fundraising to more than $11 million. They say the other $8 to 9 million needed, will be raised as the museum is built. The groundbreaking for the new Ohr-O'Keefe is scheduled for late March.