Graham Kilmer

CEO Departs Black Holocaust Museum, Brad Pruitt Named Interim Leader

Bert Davis stepping down, citing responsibilities to family. Museum reopened last year.

By - Mar 24th, 2023 06:23 pm
Brad Pruitt, Virgil Cameron, Melissa Allen, Bert Davis and Ralph Hollman Cut Ribbon on America's Black Holocaust Museum. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Brad Pruitt, Virgil Cameron, Melissa Allen, Bert Davis and Ralph Hollman Cut Ribbon on America’s Black Holocaust Museum reopening in February 2022. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) announced Friday that president and CEO Robert “Bert” Davis is stepping down.

The organization said Davis was leaving the museum for personal reasons having to do with family care. Brad Pruitt, who has served as a consultant for the museum for years, will step into the role on an interim basis to “oversee operations and organizational restructuring.”

“Dr. Davis, following in the footsteps of our founder Dr. James Cameron, has contributed to ABHM’s long-term success,” said Michelle Ford, chair of the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Board of Directors. “He set a bold vision that led an extraordinary team to reopen the museum, increased membership and public engagement, and secured a $10 million gift. Dr. Davis has provided inspiration in our community and has helped create a national presence for ABHM. We appreciate the contributions of Dr. Davis and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Davis had already been on leave for several weeks.

The museum was founded in 1988 by James Cameron and was closed in 2008, two years after his death. It was eventually re-established online as a virtual museum, and in February 2022, it reopened in its new brick-and-mortar home on the first floor of The Griot, 2235 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave.

ABHM aims to tell the story of African-Americans from the time before they were enslaved through to the present. “We have roughly about 5,000 square feet for 500 years of history,” Davis said at its re-opening.

“The museum is embarking on a new phase of its journey from re-emergence to long-term impact with a renewed focus on growth and operational efficiency that strengthens its leadership structure and organizational culture to better align with its mission and vision,” the museum said in its statement announcing Davis’ departure.

The museum board is working with MRA, a non-profit employer association, on an organization assessment. “Its goal is to continue ABHM’s development from a local and regional cultural community cornerstone to a global leader in the arts, history and culture,” said the organization.

The museum’s COO, Chauntel McKenzie, quietly stepped down from her position last month.

Categories: Weekly

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