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Overcoming Hateful Things image gallery

Overcoming hateful things


"Overcoming Hateful Things: Stories from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Imagery" explores the African American experience through the Jim Crow era along with the legacies of this system in modern society.

Hateful things exhibit


These everyday objects and images are propaganda. They perpetuate anti-Black messaging, reinforce harmful ideas about African Americans, and continue to influence attitudes toward Black people. They justify discrimination.  They are evidence of a system called Jim Crow. 

Minstrel area


Minstrel shows were among the first truly American forms of entertainment. Performers blackened their faces, exaggerated their mouths, put on wooly wigs, and donned clown-like clothing to ridicule African Americans.  Radio and film eclipsed the professional minstrel show. But amateurs kept minstrelsy alive in local theaters, churches, and high schools into the 1960s. The racist practice of blackface lives on, too. 

Violence and Terror


Violence, both real and threatened, was the underpinning of the Jim Crow system. Those who crossed the color line or “rose above their station” risked their homes, their jobs, and even their lives. Organized hate groups, impromptu mobs, and individuals alike terrorized Black communities with near impunity. The all-white justice system—from beat cops to judges to juries—offered Black citizens little recourse.  Jim Crow propaganda helped subjugate Black people. Caricatures spread the notion that Black people were threats to society, and that violence was the ultimate means of control. These images justified whippings, beatings, rapes, lynchings, and massacres that wiped out entire communities. 

What is caricature


Jim Crow Caricatures In the United States, all racial groups have been caricatured, but none as often or in as many ways as Black Americans. Black men, women, and children have been portrayed in popular culture as pitiable exotics, cannibalistic savages, hypersexual deviants, childlike buffoons, obedient servants, self-loathing victims, menaces to society, and more. This area explores just a few of the major anti-Black caricatures—and how they endure today. 

We are not Jim Crow push back


Black authors, artists, and toymakers worked against Jim Crow by creating positive images. Their heroes celebrated Black achievements and introduced Black history to young audiences. When whites ignored, refused to print, or belittled Black contributions, these storytellers gave Black children pride in their heritage and community. 

When will it end?


Making the World Better  We are an anti-racism institution and a testimony to African American resiliency. This is a collection of objects and attitudes that both shaped and reflected the past—history that belongs to all Americans as inheritors of Jim Crow’s legacy. We collect, study, and use these objects to create dialogue about race. Our mission is to teach tolerance using objects of deeply rooted intolerance. We combat ignorance with truth and replace fear with understanding. Through our exhibits, programs, and resources, the Jim Crow Museum promotes personal and community awareness, social justice, and racial healing.