New Chairperson Talks About Civil Rights Museum Future

GREENSBORO, NC-- Deena Hayes was voted in Monday afternoon to lead the ICRCM board after the former board chair, George Clopton stepped down.

Deena Hayes said Clopton didn't have the time to dedicate to the role because of professional responsibilities.

George Clopton sent WFMY News 2 this statement: It's been a very exciting day stepping down and updating the Board of all of the developments over the last few months. The Mayor and City Manager fully engaged in our planning discussions as we prepared to meet with the City Council tomorrow in a work session. I am excited about what we have achieved but this is a journey and we need the support of the community to achieve our objectives. We have a National Treasure at stake. We must be at our best to allow this to have value for the people that we invite into our community for all over the world as well as our community. Greensboro is a unique place and we should be proud of what was accomplished here. I am proud to have had the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the ICRCM and intend to continue to serve to help people realize the value of this treasure.

Hayes told WFMY she doesn't know her duties in the role just yet even though she was voted in and takes over immediately.

"I don't think it was about wanting to be the chairperson of the board, it was willing to step into that leadership position through the support of all of my colleagues on here. I was nominated so I gladly accepted their nomination," said Hayes.

Unlike George Clopton, who only served as chair for four months, Deena Hayes intends for this to be a permanent position. Hayes is the third chairperson to serve since the museum opened in 2010 following Clopton and prior to that, Skip Alston. Alston stepped down in September because of business and political commitments taking too much of his time.

RELATED STORY:Greensboro City Manager Talks About Contract With ICRCM

Greensboro city council approved a loan in September giving the museum taxpayer money. WFMY wanted to know how critical that loan was to the museum.

Deena Hayes said despite the challenges they were facing, even without the city loan, she doesn't believe the board would have let the museum close its doors.

Hayes said, "I think the leadership of this board, the advocates of this museum, the supporters that we've had across this country would have figured out a way to make that happen so we're incredibly appreciative of the city for being our partner with this."

With the negative perception surrounding the museum leadership lately, Hayes said they need to get the word out about the things they have accomplished. For instance, on Friday, USA Today ranked this museum as a top ten destination where black history comes alive.


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