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National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis names new president

July 2, 2021 GMT
In this 2019 photo provided by Russell Wigginton via the National Civil Rights Museum, longtime educator Wigginton poses for a photo. Wigginton was named the new president of the Memphis, Tennessee-based National Civil Rights Museum, Thursday, July 1, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (Mark Mosrie/Courtesy of Russell Wigginton via AP)
In this 2019 photo provided by Russell Wigginton via the National Civil Rights Museum, longtime educator Wigginton poses for a photo. Wigginton was named the new president of the Memphis, Tennessee-based National Civil Rights Museum, Thursday, July 1, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (Mark Mosrie/Courtesy of Russell Wigginton via AP)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The National Civil Rights Museum in Tennessee has named longtime educator and philanthropist Russell Wigginton as its next president.

The Memphis-based museum said Thursday that Wigginton will assume the role of president on Aug. 1 after a five-month national search. Wigginton replaces Terri Lee Freeman, who announced her retirement in December.

Wigginton graduated from Memphis-based Rhodes College and has worked at the liberal arts school for 23 years as a history professor and senior-level administrator.

He has served on the boards of several civic groups, and in 2019 Wigginton joined Tennessee’s State Collaborative on Reforming Education. Wigginton leads the organization’s work for postsecondary school access, retention and completion, the museum said in a news release.

The museum is located on the grounds of the old Lorraine Motel, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot in April 1968.

The museum tells the story of the American civil rights movement, from slavery to the present. It opened in 1991.