The Unspoken Truths Museum

Community scholar Delbert Richardson brought his traveling museum to the Orca library for the first Race Forum event, and the next day he presented to the middle school.

Article by Lily Harrison (student), Photography by Jim Meyers (Orca parent)

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Mr. D was straight forward, and honest about the facts. He didn’t sugar coat it, unlike so many teachers. He wanted and needed to teach us something, and he certainly did. The museum was sorted into four areas:

Mother Africa was about African roots. During this part, Mr. D talked about how many brilliant people and ideas were from Africa. He also talked about a place called Alexandria Egypt. I went home and looked at photos of Alexandria. Its architecture is beautiful, and it looks like a place I’d like to visit.

American Chattel Slavery was fascinating yet terrifying to see what the slaves were beat with and forced to live with. Some slave owners would mark their slaves, the same way a farmer would mark their cows.

The Jim Crow era was all about discrimination and the KKK. I would like to learn more about this time.

The Still We Rise segment was about Black inventors. They all created objects that either used to be quite popular, or still are. A few examples are the doorknob, the ice cream scoop, and the gas mask.

Excerpts from Orca Student, Staff, and Parent Reflections:

One thing I will do differently as a result of what I learned is…

“To appreciate my ancestors more, and the sacrifices they made for me to be here. I’ll also try not to judge people’s background.” -Black student

“A good reminder of the things unsaid that need to be spoken. And the many conversations to have with our children.” – Orca parent

“I look forward to learning more about how I can be a culturally relevant teacher and give opportunity to my students to tell their stories.” – Orca teacher

“To re-examine myself” – West African/Senegalese student

One fear I have or question I still have is…

“Why did White people do that to Black people? Why did they make them do what they did, why did they hurt them? They are human after all.” –African American student

“One fear I have is I would be minding my own mind and a police officer would stop me and ask me questions and I would follow but they would shoot me because the color of my skin.” – Ethiopian student

“I fear that discrimination will never go away” – White student

 

The Unspoken Truths Museum’s presentation at Orca marked the opening of the program South End Stories: Healing through History and Creativity. By exposing students, staff, and parents to inspiring role models of color and counter-narratives of history, museum curator and storyteller Delbert Richardson sparked conversations about race and community that will continue during middle school classes, field trips, and events. These discussions revolve around the central question of the South End Stories program’s first quarter—What is my story?

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