National Civil Rights Museum announces Dr. Russell Wigginton as new president

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The National Civil Rights Museum has named a new president after a five-month national search.

Dr. Russell Wigginton will serve as NCRM’s new president, beginning Aug. 1, according to a release from the museum.

He brings 29 years of experience in education, philanthropy, executive management and program development, as well as strategic planning and partnership building.

“I am honored to be chosen to serve as the President of the National Civil Rights Museum,” said Wigginton. “During this critical time in our nation, the Museum’s physical place and all that it represents plays a vital role in understanding our nation’s history in the areas of civil and human rights--and how that impacts our nation today. I welcome the opportunity to work with a committed staff to challenge and inspire us all to seek justice and equality for everyone.”

Wigginton has deep roots in the Memphis community, worked at Rhodes College, his alma mater, as a history professor and senior-level administrator for 23 years, the release said.

He earned his doctorate in 2000 in African American History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He’s also published a book, “The Strange Career of the Black Athlete: African-Americans and Sports,” as well as articles and essays on African-American social and labor history.

From 2017-2019 he served as vice president for student life and dean of students at Rhodes, the release said.

Wigginton succeeds Terri Lee Freeman as museum president and will resign his museum board post to assume his new leadership role.

He is married to Tomeka Hart Wigginton, Managing Director for Blue Meridian Partners, and has a son, Ryan, who is a senior at the University of Richmond.