'Hateful Things': Library hosts Jim Crow exhibit

Alex Doty • Feb 4, 2017 at 4:00 PM

A new exhibit at Loutit District Library aims to shed light on racism, as well as promote racial understanding and healing.

For the next two weeks, the Grand Haven library will host a traveling exhibition on race in America from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University. The “Hateful Things” display is located in the upper level of the library, 407 Columbus Ave.

“It officially kicks off this Sunday,” said Larry Halverson, the library’s public relations director. “Monday, we’re going to kick it in higher. We’re going to have Dr. David Pilgrim come in — he’s the curator of this exhibit. He’s going to talk about how this exhibit came to be.”

Halverson said the idea to bring the exhibit to Grand Haven came after he did some Google searches and looked at ways the library could provide an educational experience for Black History Month.

“John (Martin, library director) and I talked about it, and we thought this would be good for the community,” Halverson said.

“Hateful Things” is a 39-piece collection, comprised of cultural items that date back to the late 19th century up to present day. The exhibit embodies the effects of the Jim Crow legacy, while examining the history of the racial stereotyping of African-Americans.

“You look at this stuff, and some of this stuff I’d personally grown up with and saw this, and I never thought anything about it,” Halverson said. “Until you sit back as you get older and take another look at it and say, ‘This isn’t right.’”

The exhibition includes professionally framed images showing the Civil Rights movement and the fight for equal rights, while also displaying the history of brutal and cruel acts against African-Americans. Present-day images of stereotyping will also be on display.

Each item in the exhibit carries signage helping the public to better understand its significance.

“The way we treat people here in our lives, we just cannot be segregating these people, or anyone for that matter,” Halverson said. “It just kind of fits right in with what we’re looking at today.”

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