Fundraiser Friday: Less than 3 Hours Left to Support ‘Understanding Jim Crow’

By Sameer Rao Oct 16, 2015

The folks behind Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia are in the third-to-last hour of a Kickstarter campaign for a new book that furthers their teachings. 

The campaign behind "Understanding Jim Crow: Racist Memorabilia & Social Justice" has already surpassed its fundraising goal of $10,000—it has actually almost doubled it—but the book can still be pre-ordered for $25 to fund ongoing outreach efforts and introduce the title to a larger audience. 

Called “one of the most important contributions to the study of American history that I have ever experienced" by influential scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (who also wrote the book’s foreword), "Understanding Jim Crow" promises to be an invaluable tool for uprooting ignorance and making the unspeakable horrors of Jim Crow iconography relevant to social justice education. David Pilgrim, the museum’s curator, is listed as the book’s author; consequently, "Understanding Jim Crow" intends to bring the lessons taught by the pioneering musem to a wider audience, as described in a statement on the campaign page:

For many people, especially those who came of age after landmark civil rights legislation was passed, it is difficult to understand what it was like to be an African American living under Jim Crow segregation in the United States. Most young Americans have little or no knowledge about restrictive covenants, literacy tests, poll taxes, lynchings, and other oppressive features of the Jim Crow racial hierarchy. Even those who have some familiarity with the period may initially view racist segregation and injustices as relics of a distant, shameful past. A proper understanding of race relations in this country must include a solid knowledge of Jim Crow—how it emerged, what it was like, how it ended, and its impact on the culture.

"Understanding Jim Crow" introduces readers to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, a collection of more than ten thousand contemptible collectibles that are used to engage visitors in intense and intelligent discussions about race, race relations and racism. The items are offensive. They were meant to be offensive. The items in the Jim Crow Museum served to dehumanize blacks and legitimized patterns of prejudice, discrimination and segregation.

The book and museum’s goal of promoting social justice with a comprehensive and often uncomfortable look at the horrors of the past, makes "Understanding Jim Crow" a worthy #FundraiserFriday. 

Visit the campaign’s Kickstarter page to learn more.