Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Understanding Jim Crow

by David Pilgrim

I wasn't willing to take this book to work to read over lunch, but I would recommend it to just about anyone. Dr. David Pilgrim was a collector of memorabilia--racist memorabilia. He spent about three decades collecting cultural artifacts of the Jim Crow era, and then in 1996, he donated the collection to Ferris State University to create the Jim Crow Museum. This book explains what the museum is and what it tries to teach. It's profusely illustrated with photographs of museum artifacts, including the racist caricature on the front cover that prompted me to leave the book at home. It's a disgusting read, in one sense. The crap that was part of our grandparents' and multi-great grandparents' lives is shameful. But it's important to face it. It's important to understand our history in America, to realize, as Dr. Pilgrim puts it, that "Jim Crow was more than a series of 'Whites Only' signs. It was a way of life that approximated a racial caste system." It's especially important as the tropes and stereotypes of Jim Crow linger on in our culture today.'

 Check it out!
LibraryThing link

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