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"Hateful Things" At The Mark Twain House


By Mary Majerus-Collins
Senior Reporter
Alexandria Garry
Junior Reporter
– The “Hateful Things” of racism are on full display at the Mark Twain House
and Museum.
A disturbing and
thought-provoking focal piece of the three-part Rage, Race & Redemption, “Hateful Things” features artifacts from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia
at Ferris State University.
The artifacts contained
discriminatory signs, imagery and playthings such as trading cards against
African Americans. One such item was a Monopoly parody called Ghettopoly filled
with racist stereotypes.
There are children’s
games and toys such as trading cards and books, even the popular books Dumbo, Mickey Mouse, and Woody Woodpecker
with racist images. 
Any African American
characters in these books were portrayed as uneducated and uncultured. Many
companies used propaganda against African Americans, making fun of
stereotypical southern accents and dialect.
The viewers of the
exhibit, which opened Thursday, expressed strong reactions upon seeing the
artifacts which stretched chronologically up to 2008.
Mary Majerus-Collins /


Keyla Ortiz, 14, visited the new exhibit



the Mark Twain House and Museum

in Hartford Thursday evening.


Fourteen-year-old Keyla
Ortiz of Hartford said she was “shocked” by the horrors shown in the exhibit.
The treatment of
African Americans was “very cruel and not nice,” said Ortiz. “They have
feelings, too.”
Patti Philippon, chief curator of the Mark Twain House and Museum, said the museum wanted to host the exhibit for several years in hopes of
opening a dialogue.
She said the idea is to
explore what the images mean by using “this imagery that’s really difficult to
look at and difficult to see, difficult for people to explain, even to
themselves,” as a starting point for discussion and education to hopefully lead
the next generation to see beyond race.
Racism is still relevant,
said Philippon.
“Every day there are
still examples in the newspapers of racist issues & race riots, these kinds
of things that still happen, and I think that as far as we have come there is
still more that we can do,” she said.
Mary Majerus-Collins /


Patti Philippon, chief curator

The Mark Twain House,
Philippon said, “can be a place where people can really talks about it and have
a positive response to negative imagery.”
Though much of the “Hateful
Things” exhibit was troubling – and at some points disturbing – people
attending saw the importance of the history.
“It’s a great exhibit
because it shows the history of cultural racism in this country,” said museum
visitor Julius Fabrini. “It is important for today’s generation to see how
racism was reflected and how it had an impact on everyday life.”
Race & Redemption
also includes “A Sound Heart &
a Deformed Conscience,” which examines Twain’s personal evolution on race
matters and “Hopeful Things,” a collection of memorabilia depicting a positive
view of African Americans through music, children’s books and portraits of
cultural heroes.
Several films,
lectures, and performances are also part of the museum’s spotlight on race. The
exhibit closes September 3 related programming runs through mid-September.