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Homage Exhibit opening at Shepherd University

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — It’s a chance to see history up close and personal.

The Homage Exhibit Tour, focusing on African-American history and culture, will be open at Erma Ora Byrd Hall on the campus of Shepherd University on Tuesday. The one-day event will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The exhibition features more than 500 artifacts from the private collection of Nia and Morris McAdoo of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Nia McAdoo told the Panhandle News Network about why they decided to share the collection with others.

“It’s compelling. We always find people are learning about new things as it relates to black history and, more importantly American history. To be able to look at an original letter signed by Booker T. Washington or a property deed signed by Frederick Douglass up close and personal – it’s different than seeing it in a history book or even seeing it in a formal museum,” she said.

The collection includes original historical documents, artwork, newspapers, press photos, letters, books.

One of the most impactful artifacts is a slave transport collar.

“It was an item that would be placed around the neck of a slave who had either run away in the past or who they thought would run away. Someone whose family has just been sold. Someone who they see as a threat. It is heavy. It has considerable weight, and when it’s around a person’s neck, they can’t run. They can’t lay down. And every time they move, it makes noise,” McAdoo said.

She said the collar is placed first in the exhibit and always brings a lot of questions.

“The slave transport collar is actually what we open the exhibit with. It’s the first thing you see when you come in, and it really sets the tone for the exhibit,” McAdoo said. “You know, we talk about highs and lows and everything as it relates to history, but that slave collar really lets people know this is a serious exhibit and it needs to be respected.”

As part of a PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) effort aimed at social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, members of Shepherd’s sports teams will take part in a workshop with Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic, after they’ve experienced the exhibit.

For more information on the Homage Exhibit go here. 

The Homage Exhibit Tour features more than 500 select items from from the time of slavery to the election of President Barack Obama. The exhibit includes original historical documents, artwork, newspapers, press photos, letters, and books, with display items changing from exhibit to exhibit.

Shepherd University students will also be involved in community service efforts as part of the campus-wide commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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