In 1914, it was America's second-largest black owned bank. Later, it became home of the Savannah branch of the NAACP. Now, it's the civil rights museum. It doesn't have his name on it, but the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum is here today because of the works of WW Law. His death is a tragic loss, but the museum he created is an enormous gain.
"This is one of his visions," said Helen Johnson, CEO and executive director. "I guess I could say he is the civil rights museum. Had it not been for Mr. Law feeling like there should be a place for those people that worked so hard during the civil rights struggle, and they should become a permanent part of Savannah."
When Law retired, he made the civil rights museum his pet project. In 1993, plans for the museum became definite. Except for one thing: a name for the museum would have to be decided. To the surprise of no one, Law would refuse to have it named after himself.
"That's a part of Mr. Law," said Johnson. "He was really not about popularity or not about making himself look good. He thought that Dr. Mark Ralph Gilbert should carry the name of this museum."
And his wishes were honored. But one wish that will not be honored was one that had to do with his humility. Law did not want the museum to be about him, but now, a small portion of it will be. His office will one day be an exhibit, so everyone can see the efforts and successes of WW Law.