[image-1] Forty-year Charleston mayor Joe Riley is teaching a free, eight-week course on the process of funding and designing the upcoming International African American Museum at The Citadel starting this afternoon.

Riley, a board member and early advocate of the IAAM, will be joined by a rotation of guest speakers who will touch on everything from the modern black struggle in South Carolina to the logistics of making the $75 million museum a reality.

The museum is set to open at Gadsden’s Wharf in 2020. As of Jan. 25, the board was $6 million away from its private fundraising goal.

“The course is as much a study of history learned through the culmination of decades of work by church historians, genealogists and storytellers as it is a business case study of what goes into taking on a major public project of this kind, including architecture, civil engineering, finance, public policy and project management,” reads a statement released by the college.

The public portion of the classes will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Any members of the public wishing to attend are encouraged to e-mail Christina Mortti at cmortti@citadel.edu.

“The museum site is sacred ground,” Riley said in a statement. “The location was crucial because every day it is painfully evident that America continues to be fractured by our structural defect resulting from the days of enslaved Africans. This fissure exists because we Americans do not know this important part of our country’s history.”

Riley is a 1964 graduate of The Citadel. He began teaching courses at the military college last spring, starting with a class titled, “Old South City, New South Revival: Political Leadership in Charleston, South Carolina.”

The class announcement comes after a Citadel cadet’s racist Snapchat selfie was circulated on social media last week. In response, Citadel president Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa released a statement denouncing the “abhorrent racist statements” as “the exact opposite of The Citadel’s core values.”