Footsteps to You: Chattel Slavery Exhibit Open at the San Bernardino County Museum

By on November 19, 2018

In 2016, the estate of Historian Jerry Gore bequeathed to the San Bernardino County (SBC) Museum Gore’s collection of documents and artifacts that now comprised a new exhibit at the museum. Footsteps to You: Chattel Slavery opened at the SBC Museum on Nov. 1 and will run through April 1, 2019. The exhibit is presented in partnership with the Black Voice Foundation.

The profound exhibit brings to present day Gore’s lifelong goal to expose the horrors of slavery so that visitors to his hometown of Maysville, KY could appreciate the daily perils experienced by enslaved people and the strength it required to fight for freedom.

“This exhibit challenges the visitor to view history, not from the traditional perspective of the culture holding power, but from the perspective of the individuals who were oppressed,” said SBC Museum Curator of History Jennifer Dickerson. “Those voices resonate profoundly in these objects.”

Footsteps to You: Chattel Slavery presents the unique artifacts that Gore collected including first-person accounts, newspaper articles and original objects of the slave trade. Gore’s collection underscores his effort to build historical empathy and a means of achieving a deeper understanding of the experiences of people from t he past and how they were forced to live.

Hardy Brown, chairman of the Black Voice Foundation, stated that, “Footsteps to You: Chattel Slavery immerses the visitor in a world where people were considered objects – a prejudice that was entirely based on the color of one’s skin. Visitors will learn that these injustices not only affected those who were actively oppressed, but that slavery’s lingering effects have haunted people even decades after it was abolished. Visitors are challenged to ask themselves ‘What side of history would I have been on?’”

The Black Voice Foundation has hosted over 2,000 educators since 1996 on the Footsteps to Freedom, Underground Railroad Tour whereby participants walk the steps of past enslaved freedom seekers. The tours endeavor to build historical empathy for participants by learning first-hand about the extraordinary tenacity and courage of the people who sought freedom or who helped other achieve freedom along one of the routes of the Underground Railroad from Kentucky through to Canada. It is through these tours that the Black Voice Foundation originally connected with Gore.

The SBC Museum is located at 2024 Orange Tree Lane in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for recognized holidays. General admission is $10 for adults, $8 for military personnel and seniors, $7 for students with identification, and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free.

The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities and parking is free. For additional information visit the museum at: www.sbcounty.gov/museum or by calling: 909-798-8608.