A Link to our Past: The DuSable Museum of African American History

| February 28, 2011 | Comments (0)

Dusable MuseumLast Saturday we did something uncharacteristic for our family:  we headed downtown with little preparation and no plan in mind.  On the way, we stopped at the library to see if we could get a library pass for a museum.  The pickings were slim, but, in honor of Black History Month, we chose the pass to the DuSable Museum of African American History.

I was surprised to discover that the small museum packs a powerful punch.  The exhibit on “Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights” was particularly powerful for me.  In one video clip, James Baldwin (author of Native Son) was explaining to a group of young men their refusal to believe a black man could be president was an inhibitor for a black man becoming president.  In another, Malcolm X explained again and again to a panel of white men why he refused to use the last name that had been given to his forefathers by their owners.  I couldn’t believe how many times he needed to explain to him why that last name would be offensive to him.  The final visual of the exhibit was of signs of segregation directing “colored” and “white” in different directions.

I left the DuSable Museum feeling much more sober than I usually do during a family outing.  I want to apologize for belonging to a people that contributed to this history that is wrong on so many levels.

I am so thankful and proud that Barack Obama is president of our country today.  I hope this is a sign of bigger and better things to come for our nation.  I am thankful that my kids have spent this month learning about black history and the heroic actions of people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, and Harriet Tubman.  I hope that soon my kids won’t just be singing songs that say “live all together in peace” but that we will actually be doing it.

When I think it seems impossible that we could all some day “live all together in peace,” I find comfort in remembering that for one group of young men, having a black president also seemed impossible.

Thank you, DuSable Museum.

This photo by Ed Siasoco (aka SC Fiasco) is of two of the seats from the Woolworth’s counter in Greensboro, North Carolina where four young black men chose to sit at the “whites only” section. These seats can now be found at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.


Category: Illinois, New Posts

About Melanie Myatt: Melanie stills feel like a child inside, even though she now finds herself the mother of four kids. Her student husband has promised that life will get easier when he is done with school, but she isn't holding her breath. In spite of two master's degrees, she's somehow never had a real job. Nevertheless, she dreams of the day when she can be . . . something. For now, she spends her days folding laundry, cooking, eating, cleaning up, wiping noses, changing diapers, and re-reading countless children's books. When she can, she tries to find time for some grown-up types of thoughts to record at tales from the crib. View author profile.

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