The city of Rochester should consider the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia’s offer to take the Charlotte carousel panel

The city of Rochester should consider the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia’s offer to take the Charlotte carousel panel


A crucial option for the Ontario beach carousel continues to be missing from public debate and discussion.

As I have reported several times, the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorablia at Ferris State University (Big Rapids, Michigan) has made a serious offer to take and display the panel.

In August, 2015, Dr. David Pilgrim, founder of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, wrote to me:

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.

Dr. Pilgrim added the Museum would pay for all moving expenses

d & C

Front Page Democrat and Chronicle, 1/15/16

First, I approve of Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo’s decision to let the city of Rochester remove the panel

And, I agree with City Council President Loretta Scott and Mayor Lovely Warren that the panel should be placed in an exhibit — perhaps in the Rochester Museum & Science Center — that explains its “racially biased depiction” in an “educational context.” (from the D & C)  I can also accept an explanatory text (depending on what it says) placed at the carousel site.


with MAG Director Jonathon Binstock

However, it is not certain if and when the Rochester Museum & Science Center could take the panel.  Based on conversations I’ve had, the panel is not suited for the Memorial Art Gallery collection

If the panel is to be removed before the carousel’s opening this spring–and if the RMSC can not take it–we should seriously consider donating it to the Jim Crow Museum.

This is a far better option than having the panel sit in storage somewhere. The donation to the Museum could be temporary; the panel could be returned to Rochester once a suitable site is found.

Of note, on several occasions I told the D & C  about Dr. Pilgrim’s kind offer. As far as I can see, the information has not made the reports of the D & C.

UPDATE: I contacted University of Buffalo’s Professor Victoria Wolcott who was interviewed by the D & C  about the carousel. Here is what she wrote:

I certainly support the idea of displaying the panel with historical context and commentary. The Jim Crow museum in Michigan is very reputable and would no doubt do a good job displaying it. Perhaps they could keep it for a time and it could be returned to Rochester at a later date

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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