by Harrison Neville
In honor of Black History month, members of the University of Montevallo community had the opportunity to stop by the Homage Exhibit in Anna Irvin Dining Hall’s event room, and see a large collection of artifacts, ranging from original play bills for “A Raisin in the Sun,” to a slave collar used to transport slaves.
UM’s University Program Counsel brought the archival exhibit to UM on Feb. 24 to educate students during Black History Month.
The exhibit comes from the private collection of Nia and Morris McAdoo. A pamphlet available to viewers described the exhibit as “A collection of artifacts from the era of slavery to the presidency of Barack Obama.”
Nia McAdoo was present at the exhibit, and explained she had always been a collector and many of her artifacts came from her grandmother, who would send her boxes of magazines. McAdoo’s grandmother would tell her, “Whoever holds the artifacts gets to craft that narrative,” and it was this that motivated McAdoo and her husband to display their collection.
They have been traveling with the exhibit for around two years.
McAdoo said they often do programs for companies as part of Black History Month or diversity training. They also frequently come to college campuses.
“My background is in higher education,” explained McAdoo. “So I love college students and I love bringing history to them in an engaging way.”
As McAdoo talked, she gestured to the tables around her where various items are on display, moving at one point to a table with a metal collar on it, which was once used to transport slaves. She said they purchased the collar from a confederate history auction.
For McAdoo, this just proves what her grandmother told her.
“Because it’s the same artifact,” said McAdoo. “But the story they told and the story we tell in the midst of this exhibit is very different.”
While they sometimes have to venture into spaces that might be uncomfortable for them while attaining artifacts, they have never had an issue at a live show and they are usually well received when they put on the exhibit.
This was their first time at UM, and their presence reflected SGA’s UPC coordinator, Dria Hawkins’s, desire to do more than what had been done in the past for Black History Month.
“I wanted to bring something that shows our history, and not just, like, trivia,” said Hawkins.
In the future, she hopes that whoever takes on her role will either do the same exhibit or something more expansive.
“I think that we’re in a place where we have to have these things just so we can have conversations about our history, said Hawkins. “So people who aren’t of our race will know that this is something you need to know too, you know.”
For those wishing to learn more about Homage, details about the exhibit can be found online at https://www.homageexhibit.com/#/.
Harrison Neville is the editor in chief for The Alabamian. He is a fourth-year English major whose hobbies include reading, hiking, cooking and writing. He has previously worked for The Alabamian as a managing editor, distribution manager, copy editor and SGA columnist.