I went to The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. It is a nonprofit organization located on the corner at 1601 E. North Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland. A large parking lot is located next to the museum.
Once inside, the ambiance was constricted and dimly lit. The crowds were lined up to examine the various artifacts. This exhibition recreated essential realities from African American history. It presented occurrences from the involuntary transporting of slaves and their inhumane treatments up to the first African American President of the United States.
I thought some of the presentations were graphic especially the Lynching Exhibit, which provided an advisory warning to parents, teachers, etc. However, many of those images were difficult for adults to handle particularly since photographs of real people and real events were also on display. There was one exhibit in particular that featured a husband and wife in which the pregnant wife was badly beaten and then hung while her stomach was cut to remove her baby. Her castrated husband was watching and hanging nearby.
Some presentations appeared to stir up a range of emotions. I observed onlookers expressing sadness, anger and disgust. I listened as parents tried to explain the raping and beating of the slaves’ exhibits to their children. I wondered how the minds of those children interpreted that information and the graphic illustrations.
Slavery is one of the worst things that happened to black people. It stripped them of common human rights and ripped apart families and societies. I can remember discussions about slavery when I was in school. There were cartoonish pictures to depict those events and to perhaps minimize the brutality. There were no museums exhibiting life-size graphic illustrations to etch the details in your mind.
Although there were many other presentations featuring prominent people, the slavery exhibits overtook my thoughts. As I exited the museum, I felt somewhat melancholy, visualizing the reactions of the spectators during the exhibition – the sighing and asking “where’s my reciprocity.” I then looked around at the dismantled crowd as they walked to their cars – talking, laughing, taking pictures, and some subdued.