Thomasville--Jack Hadley began his black history artifact collection in 1968, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Since then his collection has just kept growing. "People have been really generous about this. Even movie stars. Oprah even sent me a picture," he exclaims.
He says already so much history has been lost along the way. "That is the sad part about black collecting because we have let so much slip by us. That's my focus is to try to hang on to this stuff because we need to know where we came from."
After moving back to Thomasville in the 80s, Hadley has put his collection on display in school, and the cultural center. But seeing the opportunity to lease the building that once housed Thomas County's first black school, he jumped at the chance to give his collection a home.
To Hadley, the collection of memorabila is more than a museum. It's a dream come true and a chance to teach and inspire younger generations. He says, "I'm doing it only for the kids. I'm not doing it for myself. I'm 70 years old and I'm doing it for the kids, so they can learn more about our African American culture."
Hadley's museum showcases everything from ancient black history, to modern culture. He has sections devoted to black musicians and movie stars, and even and entire area honoring Thomasville native and Heisman trophy winner Charlie Ward. He proudly says, "We have it. If a person don't come here to witness this. They're gonna miss out."
Hadley says he hopes his museum will serve as a tribute to black leaders who have come before him.
The museums grand opening is this Sunday at 3:30. Admission is free for all children and students, 5 dollars for everybody else.