8.05.2008

A Loss in Our Community


I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere but in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel by columnist Eugene Kane, so I feel the need to try to get some exposure to this topic (even though this blog seriously lacks exposure). The board that oversees the operation of America's Black Holocaust Museum decided recently to close the institutions doors permanently due to financial difficulties in funding it's operation.

Milwaukee's population is 37% percent black, but I would venture a guess that 7 out of 10 AA's you might meet on the street would not even be aware of the fact that we have a museum dedicated to the documentation of the dangers of being black in the U.S. during the first half of this century.

The museum was founded by James Cameron, a rare survivor of an attempted lynching, who basically started the museum with his own funds with most of the exhibit consisting of his personal documentation and research:

In the early days of his museum, most exhibits were little more than scarecrow-like figures in hooded sheets. His voluminous archive of historical facts and newspaper articles about black people lynched in small southern towns or the actual bills of sale for black slaves were often displayed in random piles.

What this brother managed to do with his life is amazing to me. From staring down at a sea of hate contorted white faces eagerly anticipating your death to founding an institution that stood to teach an entire community about it's history and everything he saw in between, he truly had a remarkable life.

It's just a cliched shame that his life work will now probably fall by the wayside to be forgotton, as have so many our great institutions.


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