This month (September 24, 2016) the Smithsonian opened the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The opening was proceeded with a dedication from President Obama, who stated encouraging thoughts by which this museum could provide our nation, armisticeness toward racial/ethnic tensions. Obama stated, “This national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are…By knowing this other story we better understand ourselves and each other. It binds us together. It reaffirms that all of us are America, that African-American history is not somehow separate from our larger American story…It is central to the American story.” (K.Bohn, S.Malveaux and E.Scott, 2016)
We applaud the President and the tremendous efforts of the Smithsonian Library. Keeping with the concept of “a richer and fuller story”. I suggest the ideal of Jim Crow Sign Segregation Re-Enactment Day for Martin Luther King Jr. 2017 or 2018 birthday and for the entire month of February-African American History Month. This re-enactment is a paradigm by which we as Americans can confront within ourselves: total ethnicity acknowledgement of our nations diversity, especially that of African Americans.
The objective is the displacement and education of the Jim Crow segregation signs/story, actually being assessed by today’s generation and prior generations, from text books/internet. These measures are limiting within themselves. With an Jim Crow Segregation Sign Day Re-Enactment, we could provide an engagement of these signs into our individualistic mental chronicles. Thus providing proof to American citizens, the great complexities we have ACCOMPLISHED with our ethnicity-our American ‘melting pot soup du jour’.
We should consider placing the signs exactly where they existed in the year 1955, through-out the United States. All public and private (if private wants to participate) should place a Jim Crow Segregation Sign were it was in the past, and let the future reside over us, as we come to understand/tolerate our difference more so, through the ‘due process’ of our collective triumph.
The purposes of this project would be to establish:
1) Interactive Learning Experience for adults who have experience with these signs and children who don’t know or have not actualized the sign and meaning themselves.
2) To prove to Americans and others, how far we’ve really come with racial tensions.
3.) To get American citizens involved with American issues. (Obama recent statement about the African American Museum “…I think, explains why this museum is so necessary, because that same object reframed, put in context, tells us so much more…”) The Presidents statement, best expresses : the benefit a Jim Crow Segregation Sign Re-Enactment could provide for the Nation , by the people, for the people. It reveals to us, our American History, with all of the bad and good within it!
For more information on Jim Crow and the Segregation Signs, visit: http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/what.htm
For more information on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture visit: https://nmaahc.si.edu/
K.Bohn, S.Malveaux and E.Scott. (2016). Obama:African-American Museum helps tell fuller story of America.CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/23/politics/smithsonian-african-american-museum-obama/
Myrdal, G. (1944). An American Dilemma: the Negro problem and modern democracy. New York, NY: Harper. http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/what.htm