October 17, 2013
Richmond Center for Visual Arts
Dr. David Pilgrim, an applied sociologist currently serving as vice president for diversity and inclusion at Ferris State University, is one of this country's leading experts on issues relating to multiculturalism, diversity and race relations. Through his research, he has shown that racism can be objectively studied and creatively assailed. Dr. Pilgrim is best known as the founder and curator of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia—a 7,000 piece collection of racist artifacts located at Ferris State University, in Big Rapids, Mich. The museum uses objects of intolerance to teach tolerance. Dr. Pilgrim's writings, many found at www.ferris.edu/jimcrow, are used by scholars, students, and civil rights workers to better understand historical and contemporary expressions of racism. He has been interviewed by National Public Radio, Time Magazine, the British Broadcasting Corporation and dozens of newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. In 2004, Dr. Pilgrim produced with Clayton Rye the documentary Jim Crow's Museum to explain his approach to battling racism. The film won several awards, and was described by Los Angeles film critic, Marc Haefele, as a "grisly low-key masterpiece." Jim Crow's Museum has been shown nationally on affiliates of the Public Broadcasting Service. Dr. Pilgrim's writings, scholarly and creative, deal with multiculturalism and race relations. His short stories have been published in Calaloo, Obsidian, African American Review, Aim and Shooting Star.