Fox45: Rep. Mfume and the National Great Blacks Wax Museum in Baltimore, MD 58_Fox_45_-_Mfume

March 3, 2023 10:37 AM


By Adam Andrzejewski

In the fiscal year of 2023, Representative Kweisi Mfume D-MD has secured almost $24 million in federal funding for fifteen different community projects in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. Applications for funding were considered based on organizations who had already demonstrated “profound successes”, according​ to Mfume

The projects that are receiving the largest amounts federal funding include $4,000,000 to the Arena Playhouse Capital Improvement Project for renovations to the players’ theatre and office building, and $2,008,580 to the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Inc. 

National Great Blacks in Wax Museum was founded by Dr. Elmer and Joanne Martin. Dr. Joanne Martin is the current president of the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum.  The museum is planning a $76 million campaign to open a new facility spanning an entire block of East Baltimore.

According to their IRS 990 forms, the National Great Black in Wax museum has been in the red for the past few years, since 2018. They were also in the red FY’s 2015, 2013, 2012, and  2011.

One of the recent wax statues featured in the museum, is of Rep. Kweisi Mfume. Every year the museum adds new statues based on a theme. This past year, 2022, Dr. Martin chose several political activists who she believes have made strides in today’s political world.  The theme was “political race”. These characters include Dorothy Height, Mary McLeod Bethune, Julian Bond, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Thurgood Marshall, and Rep. Kweisi Mfume.  These figures were taken on tour as a traveling exhibit, and featured in places like the city hall of Panama City, FL

This traveling exhibit was brought to Florida using part of a $10,000 grant from Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs. 

Rep. Kweisi Mfume (born Frizzell Gerald Gray, October 24, 1948) was featured as a statue most likely because he was the former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and is a congressman serving 5 terms. 

Here is Rep. Mfume’s response to our comment request:

“I take the transparency of the Community Project Funding very seriously, which is why I have publicly available financial disclosure statements affirming no conflict of interest and no financial gain from this community project to preserve Black History. 

The wax figure of myself was paid for in full by my late aunt 25 years ago before her death in 1998, and 25 years prior to the Great Blacks In Wax Museum's funding application."

Link with pictures of wax Rep. Mfume from 2022 traveling exhibit. 

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