The traveling exhibition “THEM: Images of Separation” will be on display at the Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries in Wright State University’s Creative Arts Center from March 18 to 25.
Tracy Snipe Ph.D., professor of political science at Wright State, said the exhibition is a prelude to this year’s Civil Rights Pilgrimage, which takes place March 31 to April 1.
John Feldmeier, Ph.D., professor of political science, has written “A Word of Caution, Consideration and Hope,” a powerful essay, or content warning, about the exhibition. The essay will be made available to visitors before viewing the exhibition and online.
“THEM” is a follow-up to “Hateful Things,” an exhibition comprised of artifacts from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University. Both exhibits were curated by Ferris State administrators David Pilgrim, Ph.D., vice president for diversity and inclusion and professor of social sciences, and Carrie Weis, fine arts gallery and museum director.
Pilgrim said that “THEM” responds to questions he received from people who viewed “Hateful Things,” which focused specifically on imagery demeaning to African Americans.
“In the past, we had people ask why we did not have objects that dealt with groups other than African Americans. For this show, we took our direction from Martin Luther King’s famous quote, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’” said Pilgrim.
Through six three-dimensional and 32 framed pieces, some with multiple items such as postcards, “THEM” tackles some of the most contentious, cultural hot-button issues, including anti-Arab sentiment, Holocaust denial, “don’t ask, don’t tell” and immigration. The exhibition also includes items demeaning to African Americans, but that is only a part of its larger picture.
There will also be two presentations connected with the exhibition, including a student panel on Monday, March 20, at 5:30 p.m. in the Stein Galleries. Panelists will discuss topics relevant to the exhibit’s content. Pilgrim will join virtually to speak about the exhibit and provide background on the museum.
On Tuesday, March 21, at 5 p.m. there will be a screening of Spike Lee’s film “Bamboozled” in 280 Creative Arts Center. The film will be introduced by Delbert DuBois, a community activist and environmental civil rights speaker, and followed by a discussion led by Kim Collins, assistant director of Wright State’s Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center.
Snipe said he hopes that the exhibition and presentations will spark meaningful dialogue among attendees about the imagery they see as it relates to civil rights issues that exist in today’s society.