Michigan has become the latest state to introduce a museum chronicling racism in America. The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, in Big Rapids, Mich. features a host of artifacts large and small. According to curator, David Pilgrim, the $1.3 million gallery holds the largest number of historical antiques from the segregation era, including everything from an ashtray to a life-sized replica of a lynching tree. But contrary to criticism sure to arise, the assortment is not “a shrine to racism” and is “all about teaching.”
Pilgrim founded the museum, which resides at Ferris State University, in an attempt to incite deep thought among all races. A former sociology professor and current vice president of diversity at the school, Pilgrim began collecting the items in the ’70s. Over the next two decades he amassed a 2,000-piece collection, which he donated to the university in 1996.
For the last 15 years the collection has lived in an appointment-only room, before financial support from the university, and other donors, allowed for expansion. The museum now holds 9,000 pieces of “anti-black caricatures, everyday objects” and “segregationist memorabilia,” most of which are housed in 3,500 square-foot unit beneath on the lower level of the school’s library.
The museum opens April 26. Peep some of the items on display after the jump.
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Photo: New York Daily News