Racial oppression was prevalent in music, books and figurines in recent history in the United States.
On Friday, Feb. 28, the Black History 101 Mobile Museum displayed racist memorabilia in the IRC. Students could walk around the exhibit and read posters, flyers, books, magazines and look at artifacts that are racially discriminatory.
“Help save the youth of America,” a flyer read. “Don’t buy negro records.”
Ferris healthcare systems administration junior Tierra Gardner-Davis said exhibits like this on campus help teach students new things.
“This exhibit is important because it opens up students’ eyes, regardless of race or nationality,” Gardner-Davis said.
The Black History 101 Mobile Museum was created by Ferris alumnus Khalid el-Hakim after he took an introductory sociology course at Ferris from the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Dr. David Pilgrim. He began going to antique shops in Big Rapids to collect racist memorabilia. Today his collection has grown to over 5,000 artifacts and he travels around the country to display his museum.
Gardner-Davis reflected on the exhibit, saying that a magazine on display really surprised her.
“One thing that really stuck out to me was in a magazine,” Gardner-Davis said. “I didn’t know that a magazine put a two-page spread of Malcolm X’s dead body after he was shot. That seemed inconsiderate.”
Among the magazines at the exhibit were many other artifacts. A hood from the Ku Klux Klan was placed on display with a sign on top of it that read, “the original boys in the hood.”
The Office of Multicultural Student Services puts on these events in the hope that students become more culturally aware.
“We hope attendees gain[ed] a deeper insight into our country’s Black History from the variety of items from the collection that [were] on display,” the Associate Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Services Michael Wade said.
This is the fourth time Ferris has held this exhibit on campus as part of Black History Month.
“Black history needs to be celebrated in more than one month,” el-Hakim said. “Black history needs to be represented in the overall history curriculum on college campuses.”