The Stephanie Ann Roper Gallery at Frostburg State University will present an exhibit titled “Hateful Things,” a 39-piece traveling exhibition that represents nearly 150 years of anti-black/racist material. The objects and images within the exhibit portray the cruel reality that the African-American culture endured during the Jim Crow era, and silently voices African-Americans’ struggles for racial equality.
The exhibition will be open to the public from Oct. 21 to Nov. 9. The opening reception will be on Friday, Oct. 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. The Roper Gallery is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays, with expanded hours for Leadership and Homecoming Weekend from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22.
The “Hateful Things” exhibit is a sampling from a museum at Ferris State University College of Arts and Sciences. The exhibit was created by Dr. David Pilgrim, a Ferris sociology professor and museum curator, as well as Carrie Weis-Taylor, coordinator of Ferris’ Rankin Center Art Gallery.
Pilgrim attended, and experienced first-hand, segregated schools in his hometown of Mobile, Ala. Pilgrim’s awareness of racism began at a young age, and his exposure prompted him to become emotionally attached to the idea of eliminating such racism. An inspiring story marked the beginning of his vision to tackle this issue head-on: One day, while out shopping, he saw a small “Mammy” figurine (a common archetype of an African-American woman) for sale. Pilgrim was disgusted by this figurine and recalls, “I bought it and destroyed it in front of the man who sold it to me.”
For the years that followed, Pilgrim continued to purchase such figurines and destroy them, simply for the purpose of proving a point. As time passed, he began to see the historical significance of these figurines, and instead changed his tactic to collecting them, rather than destroying them.
Pilgrim then got the idea to use this collection to create a museum exhibit, but of a different type. “I have a goal to create a room that when people come into that room, it changes the way they talk about race,” he said. He wants to bring peoples’ attention to the world in which African-Americans lived, and to raise awareness of the historical importance of that time period.
For more information on the exhibit at FSU, contact Dr. Amy Branam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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