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Grand Rapids museum preserving posters from protests through the years

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Posted at 8:00 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 20:00:57-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — From the 1960s to 2020, the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA) has been collecting signs and flyers from the protests that have rocked the world.

GRAAMA Executive Director George Bayard said dozens came in following the death of George Floyd last May.

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"The signs are kind of a mark in history," explained Bayard. "We wanted to find a variety of different things, so we put out a call to the community, for people who had them and weren't going to use them again, to bring them in. And for us, it just helped to build our collection of posters that we already had."

"We realized that we have to collect these things so that we can tell a complete history," he added. "And so for us, that was the driving force."

The posters, which provide insight into a important chapter of the city's history, were made into an exhibit late last year.

Bayard hopes to make them into a permanent display when they move into a larger space in the future.

"These posters 40 years from now will be quite valuable," said Bayard. "We're hoping that sometimes even in the near future, people can kind of come in and say, 'Oh, yeah, I remember that.' Or 'I was a young kid when that happened.' And 'I really don't know what happened.' So what we'll be able to do is to go back and tell that story."

Bayard said signs are still being collected.

To learn more about the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives, click here.

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