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Copeland museum honors and preserves black history

Valdosta State University home to black history collection that spans over 150 years
Posted at 9:20 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 21:20:36-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — A pair of boxing gloves signed by Muhammad Ali is what got Dr.’s Roy and Cheryl Copeland into collecting African American History. That was in 1989. The gloves were a surprise Christmas gift from Cheryl to her husband Roy.

At the time it was just an awesome gift,” said Dr. Roy Copeland. “It’s really a great feeling to have something that’s treasured by someone like Muhammad Ali.”

Over 30 years later their collection has expanded to more than 100 pieces. In 2016 the Copeland’ s donated their entire collection to Valdosta State University.

“This is an experience that we thought shouldn’t cost anyone a single dime,” said Dr. Copeland. “It belongs to the community in the sense that Roy and Cheryl Copeland, we don’t own it anymore. It is not our museum. It is a museum that literally belongs to the people.”

The museum currently houses about 1/4 of the Copeland’s entire collection, but by this fall it will be completely renovated, tripling in size.

“Our goal is to become the preeminent field trip destination in South Georgia,” said VSU Assistant Professor of Marketing, Dr. Amy Watson. “We have important information and important artifacts to share. With that the new renovation is going to include more child centric spaces. That will make it a lot easier for children to be able to interact with these important stories and artifacts.”

Construction on the new space should be complete by the start of fall semester. The museum also offers a virtual tour.

There is no admission. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 10AM until 2PM. On Friday’s the Copeland Museum is open from 10 until 1.