Crow Museum tour teaches tolerance
By Sarah Barney
After traveling an hour and 50 minutes, LCC students from anthropology and sociology classes visited the Jim Crow Museum in Big Rapids on Feb. 23 for an exclusive tour from the founder and curator, Dr. David Pilgrim.
Cyndi Tiedt, the museum docent, gave the introduction when the students arrived.
“These objects were created from a place of hate (and) were used to demean and isolate a group of people,” Tiedt said. “What we’re doing here is using those objects of intolerance and kind of turning them around and using them to teach tolerance.”
The museum features exhibits that tell the history of Jim Crow and informs visitors about different racist caricatures such as the “Mammy Caricatures.”
The most recent examples in the museum include magazine covers and anti-Obama memorabilia.
“A lot of people aren’t visible about these objects,” Tiedt said. “I think people are just shocked when they come here because we’ve gathered them all together and put them in the one place.”
One of the students who took the field trip was Adrianna Bozzo, who is in an “Introduction to Sociology” class.
“I was surprised by how all these racial slurs seemed a lot worse than they are today,” Bozzo said. “I learned that there is still a lot of racism going on today.”
At the end of the tour, Pilgrim talked to the students about the contents of the museum and answered questions. He also explained his views on the museum.
“This is the way I look at this museum, this is a museum of resilience,” Pilgrim said. “I walked past representatives … of an entire nation that was set up structurally, in its basic institutions, to teach black people … that they were inferior.
“A whole nation set up that way, and yet many of them did wonderful things.”
For information on the Anthropology and Sociology Club, contact Adviser Kali Majumdar at (517) 483-1031. For info on the Jim Crow Museum, visit https://ferris.edu/jimcrow/