According to the Daily Mail, Ferris State University in Michigan has opened the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, and not everyone is applauding. The founder and curator, a black man named David Pilgrim, says he’d like the exhibit — which includes artifacts from Jim Crow South, such as an image depicting the evolution of a black person from a watermelon to a face — to make visitors think about race and its history in America.
The Daily Mail reports:
The shocking images exact an emotional cost.
‘There’s parts in that room – the main room – where it’s quite gut-wrenching,’ said Nancy Mettlach, a student conduct specialist at Ferris. ‘And the thought that was going through my mind was: “How can one human being do this to another human being?”‘
Mr Pilgrim, a former sociology professor at Ferris State, started the collection in the 1970s in Alabama. Along the way, he ‘spent more time in antique and flea markets than the people who work there.’
His quest for more examples was boundless.
‘At some point, the collecting becomes the thing,’ he said. ‘It became the way I relaxed.’
He spent most of his free time and money on acquisitions.
In 1996, Mr Pilgrim donated his 2,000-piece collection to the school after concluding that it ‘needed a real home.’
The collection spent the next 15 years housed in a single room and could be seen only by appointment. Thanks to the financial support of the university and donors – notably from the charitable arm of Detroit utility DTE Energy – Mr Pilgrim’s collection now has a permanent home, which will have a grand opening ceremony on April 26.
Read more at the Daily Mail.