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February 27. 2003 6:01AM

Baha'is travel to museum celebrating racial unity

Special to the Sun

Nine Baha'is from Gainesville, representing a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, participated in the recent inauguration of the newest museum in Charleston, S.C.

This museum honors Louis G. Gregory, a descendant of enslaved Africans and slave owners who devoted his life to racial unity in the early 1900s.

Activities included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a multicultural celebration of the arts, a presentation by Gregory's biographer and workshops on "The Most Challenging Issue: Is It Racism?"

Making the 6 1/2-hour drive to participate were Harriet Stafford, Donna Shoudy, Jenna Stafford, Charles Bullock, Bill Whitney, Anne Kamath, Santosh Kamath, Sam Stafford and Justin Stafford.

One of the most moving events of the weekend was the unveiling of a montage of photos of Gregory namesakes - hundreds of children of all colors and cultures around the world named in his honor.

It is the first museum dedicated to any individual in the city that saw the opening shots of the Civil War.

It is also the first Bah'ai museum in the world, funded by contributions from Bahá'’s around the globe to honor a distinguished figure of their faith.

Charleston-born and raised, Gregory was educated at Avery Institute and Normal School, Fisk University and the Howard University School of Law.

He was also one of the earliest American followers of the Bah'ai Faith, attracted in 1909 by its teachings of a single God, the essential spiritual unity of the world's religions, and the oneness of humanity.

For more information about the museum, visit www.louisgregorymuseum-org.

©Copyright 2003, Gainsville Sun (FL, USA)

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