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Thanks For Being Who You Are

***The staff of the Jim Crow Museum receives dozens of letters and emails. Some of these communiques offer insight into race relations -- historically and in the present. While some are hateful, we have decided to share some of these letters and emails with our Internet visitors.***

Dr. Pilgrim, this is my third letter to your organization and I believe my previous letters have been sent to both you and the director --not knowing until much reading that I was confusing the two of being the other white, Dr. Thorp. In those letters I hope I stressed my gratitude to both of you. I am a African American Male who was raised in Midland Michigan, a small mostly white town. As a child I sometimes came home confused about race, but most of my earlier experiences with Whites were positive. One positive thing that I saw, as a child, was that the Black Uncle, married to a sweet loving White Wife, had a loving family with "mixed kids." This taught me that yes we are all "brothers," and the lesson has never left me.

Race is only an external color applied by nature based on the environment you come from; we all are from the human race. I believe we are our brother's keeper. Your museum presents the argument that we should unite, while at the same time demanding that we remember the wrongs of the past. As a Black male surrounded by Blacks who really dislike Whites -- and me never really learning to hate Whites (and nostagically longing to go back to those days I lived in integrated settings), I greatly appreciate people like yourself who founded the museum and Dr. Thorp who administrates the museum.

I understand the issues younger Blacks experience today while attempting to assimilate into the White culture and wish people like that lady who wrote you a negative letter would only understand that marrying out of your race is very American. It sounded like a angry Black lady. I understand her problem -- lack of choices. Ironically, what she needs is right in front of her eyes: other cultures to love her. We should not limit who we can love.

Angry people both Black and White are hurting America. Some even come and try to continue the stereotyping that is apparent in the images that you collect. There is too much idiot thinking and bigotry. America has a chance to prove, via Blacks marrying Whites, that we are just one nation, one society, one human race. Do not be discouraged by your critics. Please for my sake avoid those negative writers as often as possible.

Thanks for being who you are.

Greg Harris
-- August 7, 2007