Battle Creek's Sojourner Truth Institute, established in 1998 as an inspiration of the late Dr. Velma Laws-Clay, plans an online expansion as well as the establishing of its own foundation.

Kimberly Holley, director of the new Sojourner Truth Foundation, tells WBCK the foundation will be an operating foundation, organized as an affiliate of the Battle Creek Community Foundation. The Sojourner Truth Foundation will operate under the direction of that foundation."

"We have done a lot, but there is so much more that we could do," Holley said. The foundation would provide funding for the Institute to operate its programs and outreach activities

As well, the Historical Society of Battle Creek, which owns the Sojourner Truth artifacts and historical items, plans an online gallery of the items on a new website the Institute is developing.

Mark Lambert, chair of the Historical Society of Battle Creek Board of Directors, tells WBCK the artifacts will be able to be viewed online - creating awareness of the Truth legacy. It also serves as a potential way to drive traffic to an eventual exhibit.

Lambert tells WBCK the Society is collaborating with the Battle Creek Regional History Museum on West Jackson Street, exploring the idea of housing the exhibit at that location.

An unaffiliated group has sought to raise funds for a $91 million Sojourner Truth Museum with adjoining attractions in Battle Creek. That group, led by Pastor Bill Stein and Dr. William Bell, was once interested in potentially locating such a museum at the former Fremont Elementary School in Battle Creek, though negotiations have reportedly fallen through. An earlier Battle Creek Enquirer report also indicated that descendants of the late abolitionist Truth have withdrawn support for the museum project, preferring to collaborate with the Sojourner Truth Institute and Battle Creek Regional History Museum.

Holley and Lambert told WBCK the Institute is willing to work with any entity with an interest in increasing the commitment to Truth's legacy in Battle Creek, so long as the work was collaborative.

Click the player below to hear their remarks.

Hear The Richard Piet Show weekday mornings from 5:30-9 on 95.3 WBCK.

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