WMU News

YWCA presents Black History Month exhibit

Feb. 10, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Dozens of artifacts and memorabilia from the 1880s to 1950s are on display during February between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the YWCA of Kalamazoo in downtown Kalamazoo.

This special exhibit, "Contextualizing Civil Rights: Reflecting on the Lost Years," is on loan from the Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations at Western Michigan University.

The exhibit covers the 70-year period spanning the end of slavery to the civil rights movement. It examines Emmett Till's murder; the Jim Crow era; race riots, including the 1943 Detroit riot; and the Ku Klux Klan presence in Kalamazoo.

"The issues covered in this exhibit are not a part of our ancient past," says Jennifer A. Shoub, chief executive officer of the YWCA of Kalamazoo. "People living today lived through this period."

The YWCA and Walker Institute invite members of the University community to view the exhibit and to reflect on the "lost years" as well as work toward eliminating racism today.

"You can't begin to heal the wounds of racism until you know what happened," points out Dr. Deborah Barnes, Walker Institute director and a member of the YWCA of Kalamazoo Board of Directors.

The YWCA of the USA, of which the YWCA of Kalamazoo is a member, is the oldest and largest autonomous women's membership organization in the world. Its mission is to eliminate racism and empower women.

The Walker Institute focuses on advancing interdisciplinary teaching, research and programming that will advance the cause of interracial and interethnic understanding, social equity and peace. Its goal is to develop and expedite innovative institutional initiatives that will displace racism, prejudice, and inequity, naturalize cultural authenticity, and actualize the human potential of students and scholars of color.

For more information about the exhibit, call the YWCA at (269) 345-5595 or the Walker Institute at (269) 387-2141.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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