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Therbia Parker

Halifax Community College continued its celebration of Black History Month with an exhibit of Black Images Memorabilia Feb. 26, in The Centre. The event highlighted the extensive collection of Therbia Parker.

A native of Suffolk, Va., Parker's exhibit features various items, some dating back to 1820. Parker is dedicated to using memorabilia to teach about African-American culture and history. Black memorabilia includes any items relating to the African-American experience. It has been defined as the art and history of how black people were perceived as caricatures or objects.

Included in his collection is a full page magazine advertisement for Cream of Wheat, and products such as Banjo Tobacco, Uncle Ben's Rice, Bull Durham Smoking Tobacco, Luter's Pure Lard, Wheaties, Fun to Wash Washing Powder, and Longwood Plantation Syrup, among others. The exhibit also features signs that read “White Only” and “Colored Only—No Whites Allowed,” a whip and chains, and even a Klansman's hood.

“America's history is a painful history,” said Parker, who talked about past and present racism. He pointed to corporate America as being a major promoter of racism then and now. “We have to teach history. When we look at history, history will tell us where we come from and guide us to where we should be going.”

Parker continued, “We are a proud, proud people and we should never forget our history. … Hate will never get you anywhere. … It takes love to change the heart. … You can never change the heart by sweeping things under the rug.”