David Pilgrim, founder and curator of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, will give a presentation titled “Them: Images of Separation” at Northern Michigan University. His talk will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13, in Jamrich 1100. It is being held in conjunction with NMU's Diversity Common Reader program, which this year revolves around the book Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.
Although the Jim Crow Museum focuses on segregation memorabilia and anti-black caricatured items, the facility has a growing collection of objects that were created in this coutry to defame others, including women, poor people, Mexicans, Asians, Jews, Muslims and Indigenous peoples. Pilgrim will use historical and contemporary images of everyday objects to discuss the prevalence and consequences of group separation.
As a teenager, Pilgrim started building the collection now housed in the museum at Ferris State University. According to the museum website, it is "the nation's largest public collection of artifacts spanning the segregation era, from Reconstruction through the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. The objects range from the ordinary, such as simple ashtrays and fishing lures, to the grotesque: a full-size replica of a lynching tree. But all are united by a common theme: They are steeped in racism so intense that it makes visitors cringe.