Newspaper article

Provocative 'Testify' Exhibit Advances Essential Learning and Healing Processes

Newspaper article

Provocative 'Testify' Exhibit Advances Essential Learning and Healing Processes

Article excerpt

The following commentary is excerpted from remarks given at the opening reception on Jan. 11 for “Testify”: Americana, Slavery to Today, a free exhibit from the Diane and Alan Page Collection. It will be open through Feb. 6 at Cargill Hall in the Minneapolis Central Library.

Public libraries are meant to provoke, meant to open minds, meant ultimately to change how we live. This exhibit, "Testify," in this library, Minneapolis Central, does just that.

It does so because of the vision and generosity of Diane and Alan Page, who have done many fabulous things for and with our community. Diane’s work for the Page Education Foundation, which has helped Minnesota students of color achieve their educational goals for 29 years, benefits Minnesota each and every day.

And Alan has made us better in oh so many ways: his football work as a Minnesota Viking thrilled the state; his tenacity in finishing his law degree while playing football is an example to us all; and his judicial work as a member of the Minnesota Supreme Court provided wisdom and insight sorely needed at the highest level of the judicial system here in Minnesota.

And now "Testify." All of us have a responsibility to repay what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “America’s promissory note,” entered into at our founding and memorialized in our founding documents. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. “

While the Founders may have deemed this claim to be self-evident, in reality for millions of African-Americans, it most certainly was not.

This is a conversation that must occur today and every day. The need did not go away with the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in the mid-1960s. It did not go away with the election of an African-American president. The need lives on.

Diane and Alan, and their daughter Georgi, whom I met yesterday as she put the final touches on this exhibit, have stepped up and assumed the responsibility of placing these difficult issues before us in a provocative way. …

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