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Black Memorabilia Show April 20-21

Lindsey B. Johnson, Special to The Informer | 4/15/2013, 9 p.m.

The objective of the 29th annual National Black Memorabilia, Art, Doll and Collectible Show, which opens this weekend at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, is to educate the public on the African-American experience and to provide an opportunity to collect black memorabilia.

Items made by African Americans, made in the image of African Americans or about African Americans are considered black memorabilia whether they are positive or negative.

Many of these items reflect the way African Americans were viewed and treated in this country and -- despite the many obstacles our ancestors faced from the slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and civil rights eras to present -- they depict their story of great progress.

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 remind 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, and having them attend a Black Memorabilia Show is one way to teach 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.

The April 20-21 show in Montgomery County will showcase items for sale by vendors from 15 states, including fine art, black dolls, historical artifacts, books, autographs, stamps, coins, toys, advertisements, paintings, prints, jewelry and much more.

Just browsing the items is an education on the African-American experience in itself.

The event will also feature educational exhibits that give an in-depth look at important people and events in our history. These exhibits include slavery artifacts, Jim Crow, Buffalo Soldiers, Marcus Garvey, Black Panther Party, Malcolm X, George Washington Carver, Madame C. J. Walker, Dorothy Dandridge and others.

Those who attend will also be able to meet Negro League Baseball players and Tuskegee Airmen and obtain their autographs.

In additioin, guests will have the opportunity to bring black memorabilia items for appraisal at $5 for each item.

The Montgomery County Fairgrounds is located at 16 Chestnut Street in Gaithersburg, Md. Admission to the memorabilia show is $7 and students are admitted free. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For information call (301) 649-1915 or visit www.johnsonshows.com.