TYLER, Texas — It's been nearly a year since the Texas African American Museum got a the surprise of a lifetime — the pledge of a $1 million donation from Dr. Khalilah Camacho Ali, the former wife of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.
"Dr. Ali made the announcement that she was donating $1 million to the Texas African American Museum," said board president Stanley Cofer. "This is an answer to [our] prayer," Cofer said.
However, almost a year later — those prayers remain unanswered — as the museum has yet to receive the promised funds. Leaders at the Texas African American Museum in Tyler say the lack of funds has caused them to pause their expansion.
"Exhibits that are yet to be put up, we still have them in boxes," said advisory committee chairman Donnie Howard. "These are the type of things we would like to display; books, stuff like that."
"As the months rolled on, we didn’t want to be like just barring down on her so we attempted to call her a couple of times," Cofer said.
Multiple calls went unanswered until Dr. Camacho Ali finally visited Tyler again.
"Our executive director of the museum, Mrs. Gloria Washington, had a chance to speak to her face-to-face and that’s when she told Mrs. Washington, 'I don’t have the money'," Cofer said.
"And I asked her in regards to the donation that she promised to make to the Texas African American Museum, she said, ‘let me tell you, I do not have the money now'," executive director Gloria Washington said. "It was, I'm sure her good intentions, but intentions based on a promise, a lot of times do not transpire,."
Museum leadership says it wants to clear the air so the community knows they still need financial help.
"It has really put a damper on people funding us — donations," Cofer said.
CBS19 reached out to Dr. Camacho Ali for comment and have yet to hear back.