Dr. Russell Wigginton ’88 Named President of the National Civil Rights Museum

Dr. Russell Wigginton, a member of the Rhodes Class of 1988, has been named president of the National Civil Rights Museum. He will begin his new position August 1. 

In the museum’s announcement, Wigginton says, “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’s professional career also spans more than two decades at Rhodes, having served as vice president of student life, vice president of external programs, vice president for college relations, assistant to the president for community relations, and faculty member in the history department. 

In 2019, Wigginton joined Tennessee’s State Collaborative on Reforming Education as its chief postsecondary impact officer. He has served on numerous boards including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Facing History and Ourselves, ArtsMemphis, Knowledge Quest, Bridges USA, and the National Civil Rights Museum, just to name a few.

Established in 1991 and a Smithsonian affiliate, the National Civil Rights Museum is located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. For years, Rhodes and the National Civil Rights Museum have had an ongoing relationship in communicating important civil rights history to Rhodes students.