• August 26, 2015
Several days ago the D & C Editorial Board weighed in on the Charlotte Carousel controversy. The Board recommended removing the panel, ideally relocated to the Rochester Museum and Science Center or the Memorial Art Gallery. Yesterday, Democratic and Green Party County Executive candidates Sandra Frankel and Rajesh Barnabas called for its removal. Frankel made a powerful suggestion to create a replacement panel portraying the progressive fight for freedom and equality, perhaps depicting Frederick Douglass.
I entirely agree with Frankel and Barnabas. The ideal location would be the RMSC or the MAG. However, if this is not feasible, another very intriguing option needs to be placed in the discussion.
Housed in a gleaming new exhibit hall at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan is the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. The Museum has amassed the nation’s largest public collection of artifacts spanning the segregation era, from Reconstruction until the civil rights movement, and beyond. As founder and curator Dr. David Pilgrim says, the Museum “is all about teaching, not a shrine to racism.”
This morning I spoke with Dr. Pilgrim on the feasibility of relocating the Charlotte panel to his Museum. Pilgrim expressed immediate interest. By coincidence, the museum is building two new showcases. As explained by Pilgrim,
These showcases will be built in the next two weeks. Our plan, from the start, was to use one of these showcases to highlight artifacts that have sparked national discussions. It seems to me that the carousel panel is an ideal fit for one of the cases. We would tell the story of the panel’s origins–and, the ensuing controversy surrounding the object. I believe that it would be a wonderful teaching tool, if donated to the Jim Crow Museum.
Again, displaying the panel at the RMSC or the MAG is the best scenario. If not possible, Rochester should consider making a timely gift–in the spirit of Frederick Douglass–to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. Pilgrim adds that the museum would pay for all shipping and handling.
Tagged Charlotte Carousel, Dr. David Pilgrim, Ferris State University, Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, Memorial Art Gallery, Rajesh Barnabas, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Sandra Frankel