Memphis, TN, July 1, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – After a five month national search, the National Civil Rights Museum found Dr. Russell Wigginton named next President of the Museum. Wigginton will take up his new position on August 1st. He brings 29 years of experience in education, philanthropy, business management and program development, as well as strategic planning and partnership building.

Museum Board Chairman Herb Hilliard said, “We are fortunate to have someone with Russ’ background and experience as our next President. The board and I are confident that Russ is the right person to run the museum at this point. “

“I am honored to be elected president of the National Civil Rights Museum,” said Wigginton. “During this critical time in our nation, the physical location of the museum and everything it represents plays a critical role in understanding our nation’s civil and human rights history – and how that affects our nation today. I welcome the opportunity to work with committed employees to challenge and inspire us all to seek justice and equality for all. “

Wigginton has deep roots in the Memphis community after serving as a history professor and senior administrator for 23 years at Rhodes College, his alma mater. Wigginton received his bachelor’s degree in history in 1988 and returned to Rhodes in 1996 as a William Randolph Hearst Fellow, switching to full-time teaching before moving into administration. He received his PhD in African American history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000.

While teaching at the Rhodes History Department, Wigginton published a book entitled The Strange Career of the Black Athlete: African-Americans and Sports, as well as articles and essays on African-American social and labor history. Russ has served on numerous civic bodies including the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Zoo, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Facing History and Ourselves, Ballet Memphis, ArtsMemphis, UrbanArt Commission, Bridges USA, St. George’s Independent Schools, Promise Academy Charter School, and KIPP schools.

From 2006 to 2017, Wigginton served as vice president of external programs and vice president of college relations, where he helped develop and implement an institutional strategy for college engagement in Memphis and beyond, promoting college scholarships, foundations and government relations and alumni Supervised Relationships, Communications, Career Services and Education Departments. From 2017-2019 he was Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Studies in Rhodes.

In 2019, Wigginton joined the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) of Tennessee as Chief Postsecondary Impact Officer. At SCORE, he leads the organization’s work on post-secondary access, retention, and closure as he seeks opportunities and identifies gaps in advocacy, policy, and practice.

Wigginton succeeds Terri Lee Freeman as museum president and will step down from the museum board to take on his new leadership role. He is married to Tomeka Hart Wigginton, Managing Director of Blue Meridian Partners, and has one son, Ryan, who is a senior at the University of Richmond.

About the National Civil Rights Museum

The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located in the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated provides a comprehensive overview of the American civil rights movement from slavery to the present day. Since the museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors have come from around the world, including more than 90,000 student visits annually. The museum consistently pursues its mission to record the American civil rights movement and tell the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights. It trains and serves as a catalyst to inspire action to bring about positive social change.

As a Smithsonian Affiliate and internationally recognized cultural institution, the museum is recognized by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), the highest national award for museums and libraries, as a recipient of the National Medal Award 2019. It’s a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 5% US Museum, USA Today Top 10 America’s Best Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historic Places in the US from TLC’s Family Travel; Must be seen by Budget Travel and Kids by age 15; USA Today’s Top 10 American Treasures; and Best Memphis Attraction from The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.

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