HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – With February marking the observance of Black History Month,
a critical moment in black history has taken center stage in Holyoke.

Wistariahurst Museum is hosting their first-ever poster exhibition- Black Citizenship in the age of Jim Crow. This exhibition was distributed by the New York Historical Society Museum and Library. Highlighting the Reconstruction era that brought freedom and citizenship.

However, a racial system known as Jim Crow changed this all. Each poster is to show the chronicles of the long strides toward equality in the 1900s. “In order to understand institutional racism as we see it now, we have to look back at the history of where that came from,” said Penni Martorell, Curator at Wistariahurst Museum and Holyoke City Historian.

The exhibition is open to the public until February 21st.

The museum provides the following additional resources and programming:

Recommended Reading

Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution (1988)

Eric Foner, The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution (2019)

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow (2019)

Recommended Watching

Celebrating Juneteenth: The Legacy of Frederick Douglass

What did the nation look like in the years following the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of African Americans? In a special conversation to celebrate Juneteenth, historians David W. Blight and Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. (moderator) delve into the life of one of the most important figures of the 19th century—writer, orator, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass—and how his legacy continues to resonate today. https://www.nyhistory.org/media/celebrating-juneteenth-legacy-frederick-douglass

Reconstruction: America After the Civil War (PBS)

Henry Louis Gates Jr. presents a new four-hour documentary series that explores the transformative years following the Civil War when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss, massive destruction, and revolutionary social change.

Virtual Presentation of Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow

Schedule a live, interactive journey through history as Museum curators take you through a virtual presentation of our exhibition Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow. Explore Black Americans’ struggle for full citizenship and equality before the law from the Civil War through World War I. Learn more on our website. Email group.tours@nyhistory.org for scheduling and prices.

Educational Resources

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow Curriculum

These materials explore the contested efforts toward full citizenship and racial equality for African Americans that transpired in the 50 years after the Civil War. The period between the end of slavery in 1865 and the end of World War I in 1919 saw African Americans champion their rights as the “separate but equal” age of Jim Crow began. This curriculum examines both the activism for and opposition to Black citizenship rights, the works of art, political cartoons, photographs, documents, primary accounts, and timelines and underscores how ideas of freedom and citizenship were redefined by government and citizen action, and challenged by legal discrimination and violence.

Daily Lesson Plans that focus on Black History

K-2 Young Activists Then & Now Global Citizens

4th Grade Life of a Black Soldier in the Civil War Augusta Savage – Harlem Renaissance Artist Great Migration Mary Church Terrell – Black American Activist

7th Grade Slavery and the U.S. Economy Slavery in the U.S. Black Citizenship After the Civil War African American Civil War Service Abolitionist Movement

8th Grade Civil Rights and WWII Black Panthers to Black Lives Matter

11th Grade Mary McLeod Bethune: Black American Educator and Activist Education and Civil Rights in the 1950s Race in Postwar America Confronting Racism through Art: Betye Saar and the Black Arts Movement

Learn more about New-York Historical Society’s educational programming and curriculum resources by clicking here.

Educational Programming

Digital Outreach Program for School Groups: Reconstruction

This one-hour lesson focuses on the Reconstruction period and considers some of the ways Black Americans strengthened their communities and exercised their rights as citizens. (Secondary school level). Email education.outreach@nyhistory.org for scheduling and prices.

Digital Outreach Program for School Groups: Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow

In this one-hour lesson, students learn about the rise of Jim Crow, and how Black communities fought back against their systematic oppression in the post-Reconstruction era. (Secondary school level). Email education.outreach@nyhistory.org for scheduling and prices.

Private Teacher Workshop: Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow

In the 50 years following the Civil War, efforts to create an interracial democracy were met with a backlash that ushered in the “separate but equal” age of Jim Crow. Using this curriculum guide Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, learn how Black Americans advocated for their rights in the struggle for equality. Email professional.learning@nyhistory.org with questions.