Cairo museum holds grand opening for exhibit to celebrate Black History Month

Cairo museum holds grand opening for exhibit to celebrate Black History Month
Grady County Commissioner LaFaye Copeland showing off part of the Black History exhibit in Cairo. (Source: WCTV)

CAIRO, Ga. (WALB) - The grand opening of a special exhibit at the Grady County Museum of History was held on Thursday to help celebrate Black History Month.

“This has been important to us because I’ve been here three years now and I noticed a lack of any indication that there was even a black community here in the museum,” said Museum Director Don Nickerson.

A problem that County Commissioner LaFaye Copeland wanted to fix.

"I feel like the young people, if they don't know their past, how are they going to know their present," Copeland said. "How are they going to know where to go if they don't know how it started? So, I have a heart and a passion for that and I try to teach that and spread that everywhere I go."

From the black-owned businesses in town to colored only signs, the exhibit shows all aspects of the area’s history.

“We’re not just going to present the pretty side of all of this, because there is a dark side,” Nickerson said. “And we’re going to get into all of that. It’s not going to be whitewashed or anything like that. We’re history, we’re facts, we’re dealing with all sides and issues and we intend to cover that as time goes on.”

Pieces, like the original material from Tom's Barbecue, the first of its kind in the city, shows the rich history and can bring excitement to the community.

"I have to pinch myself to really believe that it's really in the museum in downtown Cairo. So, it's a great feeling," Copeland said. "I can't believe it's happening, but it's finally happening. It's here."

The exhibit is here to stay, not just for the month of February, but year-round, to ensure people can touch African-American history every time they visit the museum.

Copyright 2020 WALB. All rights reserved.