Bigger, Deeper JIm Crow Museum Opening Soon - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Bigger, Deeper Jim Crow Museum Opening Soon

Posted: Updated:

Dr. David Pilgrim will tell you that Americans don't shy away from talking about race. 

"People are hungry to talk about race," says Pilgrim. "It's a lie and a myth that people don't want to talk about race, they talk about it all the time."

Pilgrim is a sociologist at Ferris State University and the driving force behind the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. Much of the museum's early collection came from Pilgrim's personal collection. He sees the museum as a galvanizing force for new and deeper discussions on race.

And thanks to his diligent efforts over the past 15 years, the museum is now getting a new permanent home, and a space specifically designed for its growing collection.

"It's so easy to misunderstand what we're doing here," he said. "Once you're here, you get it. And you'd get it even more if there were ten people here and we were all discussing it – then you'd really get it."

The museum covers an era that Pilgrim says is often overlooked when it comes to race and race relations – the Jim Crow, a roughly one hundred year period during the era between slavery and the civil rights movement. But the story of Jim Crow doesn't end there – it's still alive and well in contemporary society, you just need to know where to look.

And that's the point of the Jim Crow Museum – it takes an unvarnished and sobering look at where we've come from, where we are and where we're going.

"What these objects represent – there's no two ways about it – they mock democracy," he said. "We are the city on the hill but [these objects are] the mud under your shoe that we're flinging at the city on the hill."

The new museum opens on April 26th in the FLITE library on the campus of Ferris state University.

9&10's Michael Kasiborski and photojournalist Joel Deaner have a look inside the old and new museum.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Severe Michigan Weather, Destruction & Power Outages

    Severe Michigan Weather, Destruction & Power Outages

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:48 AM EDT2014-07-28 10:48:30 GMT
    Northern Michigan isn't the only part of the state seeing storms. Storms that hit the Lower Peninsula packed winds up to 50 mph that knocked down trees, ripped off roofs, and blacked out more than 200,000 homes and businesses, Sunday. 
    Northern Michigan isn't the only part of the state seeing storms. Storms that hit the Lower Peninsula packed winds up to 50 mph that knocked down trees, ripped off roofs, and blacked out more than 200,000 homes and businesses, Sunday. 
  • Police Seek Information On GT Co. Home Fire

    Police Seek Information On GT Co. Home Fire

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:46 AM EDT2014-07-28 08:46:21 GMT
    Police need your help trying to figure out who's responsible for setting a Grand Traverse County home on fire, Saturday.
    Police need your help trying to figure out who's responsible for setting a Grand Traverse County home on fire, Saturday.
  • Cheboygan Police Ask For Help in Search for Theft Suspect

    Cheboygan Police Ask For Help in Search for Theft Suspect

    Monday, July 28 2014 12:26 AM EDT2014-07-28 04:26:34 GMT
    Cheboygan City Police are looking for help in identifying a man believed to have stolen a cash register from the local Walmart. He's the heavy set man in the grey t-shirt. Police believe he is 45-50, and appears to have a bad back.

    Cheboygan City Police are looking for help in identifying a man believed to have stolen a cash register from the local Walmart. He's the heavy set man in the grey t-shirt. Police believe he is 45 -50, and appears to have a bad back.