Jan. 17, 2006 -- A controversial exhibit opened to the public in
Howell. Titled "hateful things," the exhibit features
racist items from the Jim Crow era. It's the kind of
memorabilia that has stirred up problems in the Howell
You may recall the Ole Gray Nash auction house held a
number of events last year featuring KKK items up for
bid, and some people came to protest. People walked
through in silence, looking at items hung on the walls
from the Jim Crow era.
Clyde Riley, Howell: "I remember that meaning, when I
was a kid, that he was a chef."
Clyde Riley grew up in Alabama during the 1930s and
40s. He's lived in Howell now for the past 30 years, but
still the objects reminded him of a reality he once
Clyde Riley: "I remember a song about Little Black
Joe, "way down upon the Swanee River, far, far away, it
From pictures of Little Black Joe and Aunt Jemima to
signs that depicted segregation, the Jim Crow Museum of
Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University came to
Howell, a city many people say is plagued with a stigma
of racism, but Riley says that reputation doesn't exist
Clyde Riley: "I see no evidence of bigotry here
And others who live in the area agree, the city of
Howell is no longer defined by its past.
Nancy Brehm, Howell: "I've lived here for 26 years,
and the history you speak about is old news."
So Nancy Brehm used the exhibit as a tool. She's a
teacher, and even though she says the exhibit can be
hard to look at, she encouraged her students to go and
Nancy Brehm: "It's disturbing and impressive at the
Her hope is that if the kids come, they'll better
understand the history behind some of the topics she's
teaching in class right now.
Nancy Brehm: "I remember Little Black Sambo."
A period of time Riley says people must learn from in
order to move forward.