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Louis Gregory Bahá'í Museum to open in Charleston

First Bahá'í museum in North America is also the historic city's first to honor any individual

The Louis G. Gregory Bahá'í Museum, which will be dedicated in Charleston, SC, on February 8, is the culmination of the dream of members of the Bahá'í Faith in South Carolina and around the world to honor Gregory as one of the most distinguished figures in their religion's 158-year history and a pre-eminent champion of the faith's central principle of the unity of the human race.

"It is an added joy," says Jacquelyn Jones, chair of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Charleston which has shepherded the project for the last thirteen years, "that the museum will be the first one in this historic city established solely to celebrate the life of an individual."

"This city was the main port of entry for North America's enslaved Africans and it witnessed the opening shots of the Civil War," she said. "It is poignant that the first person so honored would be a descendant of enslaved Africans who dedicated his life to harmony among the races."

The Louis G. Gregory Bahá'í Museum, located at 2 Desportes Court, is a small, two-story frame house in the heart of the Charleston peninsula, in an historic neighborhood of houses built by freedmen. Louis' family moved there sometime after he was eleven years old, when his widowed mother married George Gregory, the beloved stepfather whose name he took.

The Charleston Bahá'ís acquired the deteriorated house through a tax auction in 1989 when a Bahá'í who was present, Mr. Henry Wigfall, recognized the address on the list and anxiously bid on the property. Bahá'ís around the state and world quickly responded to the appeal from the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Charleston for help to purchase and restore the site (only Bahá'ís can contribute to Bahá'í funds). The house was lovingly refurbished and, with the help of Avery Research Center personnel, exhibits of Gregory's personal effects, photos and correspondence have been prepared. Noted blacksmith Phillip Simmons is designing the museum's sign.

Schools, centers, projects, and other undertakings across the globe have been named after Louis Gregory. They include the Louis G. Gregory Institute in Hemingway, SC, that was the first full-time Bahá'í institute established in the US. And on its grounds is Radio Bahá'í, the first Bahá'í radio station in North America, which operates with the call letters WLGI. They are well known in the area as resources for people of all races and economic classes as well as religious groups and community organizations.

In addition, hundreds of Bahá'ís of all colors and cultures around the world bear Louis Gregory's name. The Charleston Bahá'ís have, in fact, sent out a call to the Bahá'ís of the world to send photos of those namesakes for a montage to show the influence of this deeply loved and emulated man.

A brief biography of Louis Gregory is available for further studies.

For more information on the Louis Gregory Museum, please visit

©Copyright 2003, Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Charlston (SC, USA)
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