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Museum exhibit celebrates Black History Month

By Nathan Hardin
nhardin@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Eliza Miller’s grandfather never spoke much about his days as a slave.
But that didn’t stop it from being part of their lives, Miller said.
The 91-year-old former Livingstone instructor was one of several Rowan residents to contribute to Rowan Museum’s Black History Month exhibit, “Back in the Day.”
The exhibit, Miller said, helps young people understand where they came from.
“I think it’s a wonderful experience to go back and see where you come from and in history and see who was in your family and how well members of your family have done,” Miller said.
The exhibit, which opened on Feb. 5 and will continue through mid-May, is being chaired by Raemi Lancaster Evans, a Museum Board member, and Museum Curator Mary Jane Fowler.
Miller gave several items for the exhibit, including photos of her grandparents. Her grandfather, she said, was freed at 11-years-old after the emancipation proclamation was signed.
“He wasn’t a slave a long time, but that was part of who he was.”
Another of the items Miller put on display was an old wooden school desk similar to the one she sat in during her schooling in the 1930s.
Another contributor Derek Ramsey said he gave items that he remembered being in his family as a child.
Ramsey said he provided several dishes, kitchen items and tools that were passed down.
“It just makes you realize how much things have changed,” Ramsey said.
Hand tools and other antique items around the house makes you view ancestors as “strong, active people that they did this on a regular basis,” Ramsey said.
The exhibit takes up two rooms of the museum, Evans said, and she had more for display, but didn’t have space.
“I’ve had so many people supportive of this project,” Evans said. “It just had to be extended.”
Entertainment, transportation, household items and other various categories are on display.
Evans, who has about 50 items in the exhibit, said the exhibit has been educational and entertaining for children.
“To some extent it’s humorous to the younger generation,” she said, “but for the older generations it brings on cherished memories.”
The Museum is located at 202 N. Main St. For more information call 704-633-5946 or email rowanmuseum@carolina.rr.com.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

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