The Bertha W. Calloway Foundation promotes activism in the community and strives to keep our rich history alive by educating future generations and encouraging strong community involvement.
The mission of the foundation is to raise funds for legal representation to force GPBH museum to return the personal Black History Collection of Bertha Calloway to her, and (under agreement with the new owner - White Lotus Development) help with the restoration and preservation of the Historic Webster Telephone Exchange Building in Omaha, Nebraska. This building is an important part of North Omaha's history. It was designed by noted architect Thomas R. Kimball. It is listed as a National and Local Historic Landmark. If the new owner chooses not to welcome our help, we will embark on a mission to establish a suitable location for a African and African-American museum within the boundaries of the traditional African-American community of Omaha. We hope that the new owners of the building will abide by the wishes of the museum's founder and consider reuse of the building as the home of a Black History Museum. Since the new owner has no true connection with the Black community their plans for the building may be much different. We are seeing this trend more often as "outsiders" continue to acquire property in an area that was once in control of the residence of the area. Each week we notice a change in the landscape of the area as many of our so-called leaders stand silent. The move towards taking control of the land may fall under the term - GENTRIFICATION (see Merriam-Webster for full definition).
The new owners acquired the building after the current board of the Great Plains Black History Museum decided to abandon the building despite a clause in the 1976 deed requiring the building to always be maintained as a Black History Museum. The board appears to have decided to abandon the community and relocate to areas outside of the community. At present, they have established a display in the area of 72nd and Dodge Street. Their excuse has been that the area surrounding 24th and Lake Street is not welcoming and not capable of generating interest from those who are not familiar with the area. Our position is..
"Our history, shared where it took place...in the North Omaha community."