Mayor Riley honored (copy)

Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley has been a driving force behind the International African American Museum since day one. File/Wade Spees/Staff

Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley is taking the back story of the International African American Museum to the classroom.

Riley has been leading a weekly series at The Citadel called "The Why and the How: The Making of the International African American Museum."

The Tuesday afternoon classes, which started in January and continue through March, are open to the public.

"Every day it is painfully evident that America continues to be fractured by our structural defect resulting from the days of enslaved Africans," Riley said in an announcement from the military college. "This fissure exists because we Americans do not know this important part of our country’s history."

Riley announced the vision for the $75 million museum in 2000 and has been a key player in raising the money to build it. It’s scheduled to open in 2020 on Concord Street next to the Charleston Maritime Center at the former Gadsden’s Wharf, where more enslaved Africans entered America than anywhere else.

The public portion of the classes is from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Here are the remaining ones:

  • Feb. 20: Financing the IAAM. Pete Selleck, former chairman & president of Michelin North America, and Anita Zucker, CEO of The Intertech Group Inc. Bond Hall 165.
  • Feb. 27: The modern African American freedom struggle in South Carolina. The Rev. Nelson Rivers III of Charity Missionary Baptist Church. Holliday Alumni Center.
  • March 6: IAAM design. Walter J. Hood, professor of landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning and Urban Design at the University of California at Berkeley and founder of Hood Design Studio, and representative of Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners. The Charleston Maritime Center.
  • March 20: The Center for Family History. Toni Carrier, center genealogist. Bond Hall 165.
  • March 27: A look inside the IAAM. Michael B. Moore, museum CEO, and Ralph Appelbaum, founder of Ralph Appelbaum Associates. The Charleston Maritime Center.
High-voltage cable company set to launch Wednesday in Berkeley Co.

The cable-stringing tower at the Nexans site in Berkeley County is said to be the tallest man-made structure in South Carolina. File/Staff

Cable conversion

South Carolina's tallest man-made structure is about to turn out a new product.

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Nexans, the French manufacturer of high-voltage cables, said its facility at the Bushy Park Industrial Complex is losing money, so it plans to switch out the type of product made at the Goose Creek site. Instead of making land-based cables, the plant will convert to an underwater high-voltage cable manufacturer.

The Bushy Park site includes a 427-foot-tall cable-stringing tower that's used to convert polymers into insulation layers that protect the cable. The soaring structure, said to be the tallest building in South Carolina, is visible from the Ravenel Bridge on a clear day.

While the difference between land-based and underwater cables might seem subtle, it could lead to a financial turnaround for the struggling plant.

There was 9.5 percent growth in Nexans' land-based cable business last year, "with profits in Europe failing to cover the losses generated by the Goose Creek plant," the company said in a statement. The underwater — or submarine — cable business, however, experienced 44.9 percent growth. 

"The decision has been made to convert (Goose Creek) to submarine cable manufacturing to meet this business' need for additional capacity in a cost-efficient manner, while also enabling the plant to return to profit," Nexans said, adding the plant's conversion is expected to take about two years.