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Carole Meekins: Positively Milwaukee

8/02/07 "Farewell to a Colleague"

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A long time newsroom employee is saying goodbye. Clayborn Benson, an award winning photojournalist, is retiring after 39 years on the job. That, in itself is a remarkable accomplishment. Imagine the stories he's covered, the people he's met, the lives he's touched. But Clayborn Benson is celebrated not only for what he has given on the job, but for what he's accomplished in his spare time. Twenty years ago Benson founded the Wisconsin Black Historical Society at 26th and Center. It remains a strong beacon for the city. It's home to an amazing collection of African American history. It's a place where many in the community can find their roots. It's a museum where people of all ages come to grow and learn. The Wisconsin Black Historical Society Museum has hosted hundreds of programs for people of all ages. The building brings families together for fun and wholesome activities. The first time I saw the what Clayborn had accomplished with the Wisconsin Black Historical Society Museum, I was literally stunned!! I immediately knew it took long hours, and years of dedication it took to collect such incredible artifacts. Clayborn's devotion is born out of a community need. Benson is aware that understanding our past prepares us for the future. As Maya Angelou once wrote," Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise."

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