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About the Exhibit
Memorials of Pain: Textual Evidence and Memories of Subjugated Peoples in the United States
This exhibit displays violence committed against African Americans and Native Americans in the United States of America. The images and stories are horrific and heartbreaking. Though this digital exhibit is not easy to view, and the evidence displayed is distressing to acknowledge, the opinion of the curators of this exhibit is that the contents must be seen so that the history of this abuse is not forgotten or ignored. This exhibit utilizes books that were contemporary with past seasons of our shared American experiences.
These volumes document evidence that many people, regardless of ethnicities, were outraged against these injustices. These authors often provided a voice for those who were not allowed to have a voice. Today, some of these books could be considered cultural misappropriation. However, it is important to recognize that these authors were seeking to bring to light and to rectify the injustices committed by broader populations. The curators hope that these relatively rare volumes that provide evidence of past traumatic injustices will give current and future scholars, activists, and pastors a historical perspective to continue to develop the literature of change. For healing to occur, trauma must have a voice and be recognized.
It is the hope of the curators that this exhibit will engage scholars, activists, and pastors in the development of dialogue across multiple venues and spheres. The objective of this exhibit is to present books that preserve the horrendous evidence of traumas experienced by people of color. The history of racism within the United States was documented by the means of print, illustrations, and photography.
Although it is painful to remember, it is important to preserve the memories of past atrocities so that they do not become the atrocities of our present and our children’s future.
Preservation, Serials, and Archives Librarian
Beasley Rare Book Room
Additional information on the Beasley Rare Book Room can be found on our Remind & Renew 2021 page.