Testify: Americana from Slavery to Today exhibit
May 16, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - May 31, 2023 @ 5:00 pm
Edgerton Public Library will be hosting a traveling exhibit from May 16 – 31 entitled “Testify: Americana from Slavery to Today”. The display will be a self-led visual exhibit including photographs of historical items and art collected by former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and NFL Hall of Famer Alan Page, and his late wife Diane Sims Page. Their collection includes art and artifacts of race relations and representation in the 19th through 21st centuries. The actual artifacts are currently on display at the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis.
The original Testify exhibit was first displayed in 2018. A traveling version of the exhibit has been made so that those of us in rural areas can also experience these pieces of history. The Pages wanted to share this exhibit in rural Minnesota because “We have respect for our fellow Minnesotans. So, we want as many people as possible to have direct access to this information so they can form their own opinions – and these objects are facts. What folks choose to do with these facts is obviously up to them, but we hope they will create more understanding and help us move beyond the divisiveness we’ve seen lately,” said Georgi Page-Smith, daughter of Alan and Diane. “I was actually very uncomfortable growing up with some of these objects and even with this conversation, but I do believe that ‘if we don’t know our past we are doomed to repeat it’ – and we can’t afford that; as a country we are wasting so much time already.”
The exhibit tells a complicated story of American history, exhibit organizers said. The traveling display includes posters with images like signs from the Jim Crow era of racial segregation, a “Notice of Sale” of enslaved people, iron collars and branding irons. But there are also images of Black resilience and joy, like a family scrapbook and artwork of jazz musicians.
This photography exhibit is made possible with Arts & Cultural Heritage Funds from Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.