Seven trustees from the board of the DuSable Museum of African American History have resigned, including Chance the Rapper and his father Ken Bennett.
“The DuSable Museum is an iconic institution and the 2nd EVER African American history museum,” Chance tweeted Saturday morning. “It was an immense honor to serve on the board the past year and the ONLY reason Im leaving is i got too busy and couldnt make the meetings. I will continue to serve @SocialWorks_Chi board,” he said, referring to his charity organization.
Other departures from the board included Eric Whitaker, Wilbur Milhouse, Kimberly McCullough-Starks and Michael Gibson. Board Chair Joyce Johnson-Miller has also resigned, but will stay until July 6. The resignations make up one-third of the museum’s board, Crain’s Chicago Business is reporting.
In an email sent to DuSable staff Friday night, museum CEO Perri Irmer said she was sorry to see the trustees depart:
“In the coming days you may hear that we have had a few trustees resign from the board. Although we are sorry to see dedicated trustees depart, we understand that the mission of the DuSable Museum is more important now than ever before, and we will take this opportunity to continue to build our board of trustees and focus our efforts on the present—and the future—of this great institution,” Irmer wrote.
DuSable Museum officials did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
The Grammy-winning South Sider joined the board in January 2017 along with his father — a friend and former aide to both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former President Barack Obama — and Whitaker, another close Obama pal and former executive vice president at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
They were part of a shakeup turning over nearly half of the board, and at the time, Irmer was lauded for breathing new air into a board that some had described as stagnant.
Among the first independent African-American history museums nationwide, DuSable, with an annual budget of over $4 million, has like most small niche museums faced declining revenues and government funding in recent years. It saw about 100,000 visitors in 2015, compared to nearly 118,500 in 2014. It also has experienced transition pains, with a dispute over artistic direction erupting between new and older board members in 2015.