Monday, February 15, 2010

Chicago's Navy Pier Special Exhibit

Trachtenberg’s “The White City” focuses on the 1893 summer fair in Chicago in broad terms, taking into consideration location, architecture, and even race and gender relations involved with the planning and exhibitions placed there. Specifically, it takes time to mention the “Jubilee” or “Colored People’s Day” that took place, with former slave Frederick Douglass in attendance. While it was considered to be quite an achievement, Douglass said, “As if to shame the Negro, the Dahomians are here to exhibit the Negro as a repulsive savage.” (p.221).

In contrast, I looked at the closest thing to a fair remaining in Chicago: Navy Pier. As a native of Chicago, I have fond memories of visiting during my childhood, watching movies in the Imax theater with friends or going to watch productions in their model Globe Shakespeare theatre. Now, however, they are making special efforts to showcase Black History Month, something I do not remember seeing before (although it very well may have existed). Some of the contributors within their gallery include Barack Obama, Madame C. J. Walker, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass. Coming from Navy Pier, one of Chicago’s most popular sites to visit (with over 8 million visitors annually), it will surely not be something to miss.

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