Black Memorabilia & Collectible Show, April 21-22

Special to Informer | 3/30/2012, 9:55 p.m.

Items made by African Americans, made in the image of African Americans or about African Americans are considered black memorabilia whether these items are positive or negative. Many of the items we consider as black memorabilia reflect the way African Americans were viewed and treated in this country. Items from the slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras to present tell a story of great progress of our ancestors despite the obstacles they were faced with.

Slave shackles and documents reveal a story of man's inhumanity to man. Collecting memorabilia from that period reminds us of a time that we do not want to forget so that we will do everything in our power to keep it from ever happening again. Items from Reconstruction reminds us of gains that were taken from us during the Jim Crow era. Civil Rights memorabilia reminds us of the struggles and sacrifices that were made to achieve equality and fair treatment as human beings. It is extremely important that we know our history so that we can appreciate the gains made and not take our current state for granted.

Many young African Americans do not know our history and as a consequence do not see the importance of participating in the political process to maintain our hard fought for gains. Therefore, we in the African American community must make every effort to teach our young people about our history. Having them attend a Black Memorabilia Show is one way to teach about and expose them to our history. Black memorabilia also documents our contributions to the building of America, thus making it the great country that it is.

At the April 21-22 National Black Memorabilia and Collectible Show there will be vendors with black memorabilia for sale. Just browsing the items for sale is an education on the African American experience in itself. Also, at this event there will be educational exhibits that give an in-depth look at important people and events in our history. These educational exhibits include slavery artifacts, Buffalo Soldiers, Marcus Garvey, Black Panther Party, Malcolm X, George Washington Carver, Madame C. J. Walker and others. Attendees will also be able to meet Negro League Baseball Players and Tuskegee Airmen.

Movie/TV celebrity guests in attendance will include actress Lonette McKee, who starred as "Sister" in the movie "Sparkle," and the actors Ernest "Raj" Thomas and Haywood "Dwayne" Nelson, who starred in the TV series "What's Happening!"

They will be signing autographs and talking to fans both days. This event is an excellent opportunity for the whole family to be educated on the African American experience.

The show is at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut Street, Gaithersburg, Maryland. Admission is only $7 and children under 16 are admitted free. Show hours are 10am to 7pm Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

For information call (301) 649-1915 or view www.johnsonshows.com.