SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – 10 On Your Side went behind the scenes of a new exhibit opening in Portsmouth this weekend. It looks back at history: the good, bad and ugly.
A Suffolk man’s 40-year collection of memorabilia has become a museum display all about visualizing Jim Crow and the long road our country has traveled ever since. Therbia Parker says in order to get to that place you have to get to the root of deep divides.
“There’s a lot of healing to be done in America,” said Parker. “I mean a lot of healing to be done. You want to know something about racism in America, go back to slavery, and especially Jim Crow.”
The countless artifacts he and his wife have collected over the years tell the story of bondage, a history of heavy burdens even once shackles were long gone, and a fight for equality for years. There are items that will make some cringe and others still being debated to this day. They’ll all be on display soon at the Portsmouth Community Colored Library Museum.
“You just can’t erase history regardless of how sinful it was,” said Parker. “I think it’s absolutely awesome that someone had the foresight to save this building.”
That building now serves as a reminder of history for what it is and a springboard forward to better days. The exhibit is Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Find more information click here.
Some may remember Parker also gave Former Governor Doug Wilder $75,000 worth of artifacts for a Slavery Museum in Fredericksburg that went into bankruptcy. Wilder has yet to return those artifacts, but Parker says it’s water under the bridge.