Reggie Jackson is a Griot at the America's Black Holocaust Museum (https://www.abhmuseum.org/), located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an organization whose mission builds public awareness of the harmful legacies of slavery and Jim Crow in America and promotes racial repair, reconciliation, and healing.
The Talk: The Hidden Impact of Segregation
Residential segregation did not happen by accident – and it has many damaging ramifications for our communities’ and country’s well-being. This talk uncovers the little known political, economic, and social forces that created and maintain residential segregation locally and nationally. In a lecture that is both data-based and surprisingly engaging, Reggie Jackson illuminates the roles of federal and local governments, the real estate industry, and a de- industrializing economy in creating this situation.
Register here. The Zoom link will be sent to registrants closer to the event.
Let’s learn more about Reggie, his position and America’s Black Holocaust Museum.
What is a Griot?
"Griot" (pronounced GREE-oh) is the French name given to the oral historians of West Africa. Traditionally griots travel from city to city and village to village as living newspapers, carrying in their heads an incredible store of local history and current events. They pass on their knowledge of history by singing traditional songs, which they must recite accurately, without errors or deviations. Like rappers, they also make up songs as they go to share current events, gossip, political commentary and satire.
Being a griot is often an inherited position, and griots generally marry other griots. There are still many practicing griots in West Africa today. Most often they accompany themselves on the kora, a 21-string harp made from half of a large gourd covered with animal skin. The strings, made of gut or fishing line, are plucked with the fingers. Griots may also play other traditional and modern instruments and are often very accomplished musicians.
At America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) we call our online exhibit curators and our museum docents "griots," because they tell our history. Griots have always been part of ABHM. At our onsite museum, we train volunteer griots to show groups around our exhibits. They answer questions and facilitate discussion to help visitors make sense of what they see and feel. For our online museum, scholars from around the world serve as griots, researching and writing the exhibits.
What is America’s Black Holocaust Museum?
ABHM is a museum dedicated to both history and ongoing commemoration. History museums study, exhibit, and interpret objects of historical value. Memorial museums are dedicated to contextualizing and commemorating past events of mass suffering.
What Inspired the Museum's Founder?
Dr. James Cameron, a lynching survivor and early civil right pioneer, was inspired to create ABHM when he visited the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem in 1979. He admired the Jewish insistence on the preventive importance of keeping the memory of mass atrocity alive in the world’s conscience. He also saw many similarities between the Jews’ terrible suffering and that of African Americans during enslavement and the Jim Crow era that followed.
Cameron had faith in the moral framework of liberty and justice for all embodied in our country's founding documents. He believed that, once enough white Americans were exposed to an accurate account and actual nature of the black American experience, they would oppose racial injustice and help the nation achieve its ideals.
How Does ABHM Open Minds and Hearts?
In 1988 Dr. Cameron opened his museum about the black holocaust in America. Personal stories are often the foundation of memorial museums. When Dr. Cameron told his own story as a lynching survivor, it opened visitors’ hearts and minds to the deeper significance of ABHM’s exhibits, such as a fetid cargo hold of a slaving ship and the hooded gowns of the Ku Klux Klan.
America’s Black Holocaust Museum invites citizens of the United States and the world to learn and grow together. The museum shares stories that advance visitors' understanding of our country’s troubled racial past, share strategies for acknowledging and repairing racial trauma, and help our nation move into a more just and peaceful future.
ABHM just reopened its physical location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ABHM's new galleries are located on the very footprint of our first building in Milwaukee's Bronzeville neighborhood. On the ground floor of the new Griot Building, the new galleries take visitors on a chronological journey through the Black Holocaust from 1619 to the present. In addition, ABHM hosts an online museum featuring hundreds of exhibits, accessible anytime, across the world. To learn more through the online museum go to: https://www.abhmuseum.org/galleries/
Follow ABHM’s Breaking News content to learn more about Black history in the Making!
ABHM regularly brings you current news and culture as reported in the Black press and by predominantly African American journalists in the mainstream press. Why cover current events in a history museum? Because the past is still present.
As James Baldwin put it, “The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”
To learn more about Black history in the making through curated breaking news content go to: https://www.abhmuseum.org/breaking-news/
We look forward to hosting Reggie and hope you can join us.
Information from America’s Black Holocaust Museum, compiled by Erin Olson.