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Ferris students raise funds for Jim Crow Museum Campaign

BIG RAPIDS – Students at Ferris State University recently took an active role in helping enhance the University’s educational environment by participating in the Jim Crow Museum Campaign.

Students from 18 registered student organizations raised nearly $1,000.

Founded in 1996, the museum is housed in a 500 square-foot room that allows approximately 16 to 18 visitors at a time to view more than 4,000 racist artifacts. With the goal of using items of intolerance to teach tolerance, the nation’s largest and publicly accessible collection of racist artifacts needs a larger home, which is the goal of the fund-raising campaign – to raise $1.2 million for expansion of the museum into a 2,100 square-foot space.

While some organizations donated money, others such as the Sociology and Anthropology Student Organization, raised funds and awareness by hosting events.

Elizabeth Rivard, vice president of SASO, said the group was inspired to help the campaign because of the museum’s mission statement: “Promote racial tolerance by helping people understand the historical and contemporary expressions of intolerance.”

“SASO was looking for a way to give back to the community,” said Rivard, a senior studying Sociology and Criminal Justice Corrections. “We agreed that helping the Jim Crow Museum move into its new home was something that is a valuable educational tool that betters the Ferris community.”

For two days, the organization sold $1 anti-racism buttons that sported slogans such as “Celebrate Diversity” and “Fight Racism.” With the buttons, literature about the museum was handed out to educate people about the plans for the new museum. The group had enough supplies for 40 buttons, which sold out quickly during the two-day fundraiser.

“We plan to make and sell more in the next few weeks,” Rivard said. “Students and faculty loved the buttons and many students told us that their organizations had donated to the museum, as well. It’s encouraging to see others believing in the museum like we do.”

For more information or to make a gift to Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum Campaign, please contact The Ferris Foundation at (231) 591-2365 or [email protected]. Details about establishing scholarships or endowments may be obtained from the Advancement Office at (231) 591-3825.