Ferris State University Big Rapids MI College

Jim Crow Museum

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Video Spotlight

The New Jim Crow Museum

Tour the Jim Crow museum with founder and curator, Dr. David Pilgrim. Dr. Pilgrim discusses some of the major themes of the Jim Crow Museum. Jim Crow was not just a character or a set of "laws", it was a system that built upon itself to create and sustain a society with a racial hierarchy.

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Traveling Exhibits


Hateful things

"Hateful Things"

From Aunt Jemima advertisements to the board game Ghettopoly, American popular culture is replete with racist images. The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia features an extensive collection of racist objects that trace the history of the stereotyping of African Americans.

Full Description of 'Hateful Things' Exhibit »

Them

"Them"

"THEM: Images of Separation," is a traveling exhibition that showcases items from popular culture used to stereotype different groups. The negative imagery -- found on postcards, license plates, games, souvenirs and costumes -- promoted stereotyping against such groups as Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Jews and poor whites, as well as those who are "other" in terms of body type or sexual orientation.

Full Description of 'Them' Exhibit » 

Special Features


Notable Visits 


…and it doesn't stop


The battle continues as racial images and items are produced daily. Objects with racist themes are created, produced, and sold weekly in the United States.

Idlewild Club House  

Many people ask why is the museum in central northern Michigan? But many do not realize that central northern Michigan has a rich history of Africna American residents from Idlewild to Woodland park to the Negro Old Settlers of Mecosta, Isabella and Montcalm Counties. Learn a little bit about Idlewild in this month's Question of the Month.

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Robert Lee Vann  

The Pittsburgh Courier has a long history of advocacy and was once the most widely circulated black newspaper. Learn a little about the history of the paper and of Robert Lee Vann in this month's Question of the Month.

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George Edwin Taylor  

Not many know that George Edwin Taylor ran for president well before Barack Obama. Learn about Taylor's background and his 1904 Presidential Campaign in this month's Question of the Month.

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Don Barksdale  

Don Barksdale was an All-American basketball player at UCLA, an NBA ALL-Star, and an Olympic Champion. But because of his color he was not allowed to play during the 1948 Olympic Gold Metal run. Read more in this June's Question of the Month.

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Battle Royal  

The so-called "Negro Battle Royal" was a common event at many fairs, carnivals, and boxing matches throughout America. In most cases, the primary participants were African American men and boys who would beat each other senseless for the comedic pleasure of the audience for a few dollars.

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Museum Information


The new Jim Crow Museum is now open and is FREE to the public. The Museum features six exhibit areas -- Who and What is Jim Crow, Jim Crow Violence, Jim Crow and Anti-Black Imagery, Battling Jim Crow Imagery, Attacking Jim Crow Segregation, and Beyond Jim Crow.

The Museum also offers a comprehensive timeline of the African American experience in the United States. The timeline is divided into six sections: Africa Before Slavery, Slavery in America, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Civil Rights and Post Civil Rights.

The Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University strives to become a leader in social activism and in the discussion of race and race relations. This new facility will provide increased opportunities for education and research. Please join us as we embark on this mission.

Regular hours are Monday thru Friday 12-5 p.m. or group tours by appointment. To schedule a tour, please contact the museum at (231) 591-5873 or at jimcrowmuseum@ferris.edu. Please refer to the calendar of events for availability.

Museum Policy Update


For Children Visitors to the Jim Crow Museum Policy, please see Contact page.

Visitors to the Jim Crow Museum are prohibited from photographing or video recording any portions of the Museum.

Exceptions to this policy can be made at the sole discretion of Museum staff and might include special events, scholars who have made arrangements in advance of their visits, and credentialed members of the press.

The mission of the Jim Crow Museum is to use objects of intolerance to teach tolerance and promote social justice.

Objectives of the Jim Crow Museum


The Museum's mission is achieved through the following objectives:

    • Collect, exhibit and preserve objects and collections related to racial segregation, anti-black caricatures, civil rights, and African American achievement.
    • Promote the scholarly examination of historical and contemporary expressions of racism.
    • Serve as a teaching resource for Ferris State University courses which deal, directly or indirectly, with the issues of race and ethnicity.
    • Serve as an educational resource for scholars and teachers at the state, national and international levels.
    • Promote racial understanding and healing.
    • Serve as a resource for civil rights and human rights organizations.

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