The True Black Museum, a traveling exhibit of artifacts relating to African American history, visited the Kellogg Center this Tuesday. The exhibit was sponsored by Greek Life and Campus Programs and Organizations as a part of Albion’s Black History Month activities.
The museum was founded and is directed by Fred J. Safford III, a retired lieutenant from the Detroit Police Department and current adjunct instructor at Wayne County Community District. Safford gave a speech in the Kellogg Center Stack regarding the importance of reviewing African American history to examine modern day racism and what people can do to combat it.
“What I want you to reflect on is the privilege that you have in your life, whatever that privilege may be, because we’ve all got it,” Safford said. “Use that privilege to fight against racism and oppression. Consider yourself an ally of social and racial justice.”
Downstairs in the Kellogg Center Living Room, Students were able to view objects from African American culture and history dating from the late 18th century to present day. An array of artifacts were on display, including chattel slave shackles, various forms of beaded jewelry and signed documents, ranging from autographs of black musicians to papers signed by Booker T. Washington and Malcom X.
For students like Jada Stewart, a sophomore from Chicago, the museum offered an experience that made the harsh reality of oppression something tangible. The chattel slave shackles from the late 18th century, in particular, impacted Stewart.
“Even though we couldn’t touch the artifacts, it was just the concept of knowing that those look like chains that are attached to your car if you’re trying to trail something,” said Stewart. “It was a shocker.”
While the museum showcased the struggles African Americans experienced throughout American history, it also shed light on the positive cultural and political impact African Americans have made on the world.
“They didn’t just mention bad things, like slavery or being oppressed, they mentioned the different levels of success black people have gained over time. They had different music artists or sports players or people that are phenomenal black people,” Stewart said. “I’m glad that was here.”
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