June 2017

ABHM has lots of programs this month!

Please scroll down to see ALL our offerings – from the beginning to the end of the month.


Tuesday, June 6th – 6:30-8:00pm

The Hidden History and Impact of Segregation in Milwaukee County

Lecture/Q & A by Reggie Jackson, ABHM Head Griot (Oral Historian)

Mr. Jackson reveals how Milwaukee became the most racially segregated metropolitan area in the nation. He examines the role played by national and local policies and social systems that have promoted and maintained this artificial separation between white and black citizens – and other residents of color. Finally, he explains how segregation negatively impacts the economic and social well-being of all the residents of this region.

Shorewood Public Library & Senior Resource Center

3920 N Murray Ave, Shorewood, WI 53211

Free and open to the public


About Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson first volunteered with America’s Black Holocaust Museum in 2002. A year later, he was appointed Head Griot (pronounced GREE-oh) and began training the new griots. By the time the bricks-and-mortar museum closed in June 2008, he had led hundreds of tours.

Reggie became a close friend and protegé of ABHM founder, Dr. James Cameron. Since Cameron’s death in 2006, Reggie has served as an expert on the life of this unsung civil rights hero and lynching survivor. He authored the Afterword of Dr. Cameron’s memoir, A Time of Terror: A Survivors Story, 3rd edition.

After the building closed, Reggie joined a task force of community activists determined to keep Dr. Cameron’s museum and legacy alive. They formed the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation and in 2012 began to operate

ABHM Head Griot Reggie Jackson giving his address accepting the SE WI YWCA’s 2015 Eliminating Racism Award.

America’s Black Holocaust Museum as a “museum without walls.”

Reggie served as the Cameron Legacy Foundation’s first board president until January 2017 and helped establish not only the online museum but also the popular Griots To Go Speakers Bureau.

In his role as ABHM’s Head Griot, Reggie has been a much sought-after speaker on Black Holocaust topics regionally and nationally for over a decade. He presents the untold and seldom-told stories in African-American history at schools, libraries, churches, and businesses – and conducts diversity and race relations training.

Mr. Jackson has also taught Contemporary Social Problems and Introduction to Sociology as an adjunct professor at Concordia University and worked as a special education teacher in Milwaukee middle schools.

He is the 2015 winner of the Eliminating Racism Award from southeast Wisconsin’s YWCA and the 2016 Courageous Love Award from the First Unitarian Society.


Tuesday, June 10th –

What Is Leadership?

Part of a Panel Discussion for Student Convocation, by Reggie Jackson, ABHM Head Griot (Oral Historian

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Whitewater, Wisconsin

Not open to the public


Tuesday, June 13th – 9:00-10:30am

Segregation and Social Inequality

Lecture/Q & A by Reggie Jackson, ABHM Head Griot (Oral Historian

Sponsored by Marquette University: Pastoral Leadership in a Cultural Context

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Not open to the public

This talk is part of an Urban Immersion Summit for early-career pastors from a variety of Christian denominations wanting to develop and use their leadership skills beyond the congregation, to be leaders of leaders within the community, particularly addressing such issues of social injustice.


Wednesday, June 14th – 1:30-3:00pm

Museumizing the Black Holocaust: A Dialogue with America’s Black Holocaust Museum

Workshop by Dr. Fran Kaplan (Coordinator, ABHM Virtual Museum) and Reggie Jackson (ABHM Head Griot)

Transforming Public History from Charleston to the Atlantic World





Fran Kaplan (L) and Reggie Jackson (R) .

An international conference held at the College of Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina

Registration required








Wednesday, June 21st – 7:30-8:30pm

The Hidden Impact of Segregation on Milwaukee County

Lecture/Q & A by Reggie Jackson, ABHM Head Griot (Oral Historian

Sponsored by St. John’s on the Lake

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Not open to the public


Saturday, June 24th – 2:00-4:00pm

The Arguments For and Against Slavery

Lecture/Q & A by Reggie Jackson, ABHM Head Griot

There will also be a chance for patrons to examine many original documents on this subject from the library’s collection.

Milwaukee Public Library Central Library Rare Books Room, 2nd Floor

814 W. Wisconsin Avenue

Milwaukee, WI

Free and open to the public




Wednesday, June

28th – 6:30-8:00pm

The Hidden History & Impacts of Segregation in Waukesha Country

Lecture/Q & A by Reggie Jackson, ABHM Head Griot

Waukesha Public Library

321 Wisconsin Ave, Waukesha, WI 53186

Free and open to the public

Join us for a presentation  that looks at the historical forces that created residential segregation and how they negatively impact our communities currently.

Dr. Cameron’s Memoir To Be Presented at SE Wisconsin Festival of Books 11/4/16

tot-cover-wippy-seal“Have you ever watched one man die and then another, knowing that your turn was next? Have you ever looked into ten thousand angry faces whose open mouths screamed for your blood? Have you ever felt yourself in the hands of such a mob whose sole purpose was to destroy you?

All of these things and more happened to me several years ago. This I acknowledge not boastfully but humbly, for the fact that I am alive to tell this story is due to a power greater than myself or any man.

It is an established fact that people learn a great deal quickly when caught in traumatic events. The things I believed I learned, as well as the unforgettable events themselves, are the reasons why this book has been written.”

Thus begins the extraordinary memoir, A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story, written by the only person ever to survive a lynching. Just as Anne Frank’s Diary reveals the intimate personal experiences of a teenager trying to make sense of Nazi terror, James Cameron’s book shares his journey growing up during the Jim Crow era, living through its worst forms of racial violence, and retaining his faith in the promise of America.

Fran Kaplan (L) and Reggie Jackson (R) accepting the Silver IPPY medals on May 10, 2016, in Chicago. They are two of four authors who contributed the additional materials included in A Time of Terror's 3rd edition.

Fran Kaplan (L) and Reggie Jackson (R) accepting the Silver IPPY medals on May 10, 2016, in Chicago. They are two of four authors who contributed the additional materials included in A Time of Terror’s 3rd edition.

This uplifting story of a life courageously and well lived has been re-released in a greatly expanded 3rd edition by LifeWrites Press, the publishing imprint of the nonprofit Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation. Proceeds from the book’s sales support the Foundation and its educational programs, including America’s Black Holocaust Museum.

Authors who contributed to the award-winning new edition – Dr. Robert S. Smith, Reggie Jackson, and Dr. Fran Kaplan – will talk about the book and the life and legacy of its late author, a civil rights pioneer and the founder of ABHM.

PLACE: Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books – University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, Room N125

DATE/TIME: Saturday, November 5, 2016, from 4:00-5:00pm. Book signing and sale follows the talk in the same room from 5:00-5:30pm.

The panel presentation, also featuring author and photographer, Mark Speltz, and civil rights activist and poet, Margaret Rozga, is called Up North: Images and Incidents in the African American Freedom Struggle.

Read excerpts from A Time of Terror here. Purchase the book online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as at independent booksellers like Milwaukee’s Boswell Books.





Lynching Survivor’s Memoir Wins Prestigious Book Award

For Immediate Release
For more information, contact
Tammy Belton-Davis at (414) 339-7604
or tammy@athenacommunicationsllc.com

ToT front w back excerptMILWAUKEE (May 25, 2016) – Dr. James Cameron’s memoir A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story recently received the 20th Annual 2016 Independent Publisher Book Award. “IPPY” Awards are presented to the year’s best titles in the important and growing arena of independent publishing. A Time of Terror garnered the Silver Medal for the Great Lakes – Best Regional Non-Fiction during an awards ceremony held May 10th in Chicago.

A Time of Terror is the only lynching account ever written by a survivor. The photograph of this horrific spectacle, in which two other boys died, is the most well-recognized of such images in the world. It inspired the song “Strange Fruit” made famous by Billie Holiday. Only sixteen when the 1930 lynching took place, Cameron wrote his memoir at the age of twenty-one. It was published almost fifty years later and became an instant media sensation.

Baby Jimmie Cameron in his mother Vera's arms, surrounded by female relatives in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, 1914.

Baby Jimmie Cameron in his mother Vera’s arms, surrounded by female relatives in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, 1914.

This expanded third edition includes never-before-published chapters and fifty vintage photographs. It also contains over 100 annotations that provide definitions of the era’s expressions and background on historical characters and events. A Foreword by bestselling author James Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me) explains how Cameron’s story sheds light on current race relations in America. An Introduction by historian Robert Smith and educator Fran Kaplan helps the reader grasp the social and cultural environment in which young Cameron grew up. The Afterword by ABHM Head Griot Reggie Jackson describes Cameron’s adult life — after his memoir ends — as a civil rights pioneer and public historian.

“Cameron’s memoir is an inspired meditation on individual human endeavor, comparable to the trials and tribulations of Richard Wright’s Bigger Thomas, but with an uplifting ending,” writes one reviewer, Dr. Stephen Small, professor of African-American Studies at the University of California-Berkeley.

lifewrites-press-logoThe book is available for purchase through amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com for $24.99. A schedule of book talks and signings, as well as downloadable book excerpts, can be found at www.atimeofterror.info. The book was published by LifeWrites Press, the publishing arm of the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation, which also operates America’s Black Holocaust Museum.

Fran Kaplan (L) and Reggie Jackson (R) accepting the Silver IPPY medals on May 10, 2016, in Chicago. They are two of four authors who contributed the additional materials included in A Time of Terror's 3rd edition.

Fran Kaplan (L) and Reggie Jackson (R) accepting the Silver IPPY medals on May 10, 2016, in Chicago. They are two of four authors who contributed the additional materials included in A Time of Terror’s 3rd edition.

“We are so honored to receive this prestigious award honoring Dr. Cameron and his story,” said Reggie Jackson, Head Griot (docent) of America’s Black Holocaust Museum. “Despite the terrible trauma he suffered in his youth, Dr. Cameron never lost his hope and faith in America and its ideals. His accomplishments as a civil rights pioneer, working man, self-taught historian, writer, father of five, and founder of America’s Black Holocaust Museum are nothing short of phenomenal.”

The “IPPY” Awards, launched in 1996, bring  recognition to the deserving but often unsung titles published by independent authors and publishers around the world.

Remembering the Black Holocaust

Off the Cuff with Fran Kaplan

Fran Kaplan is nothing if not passionate. A dedicated educator, social worker and self-described “social justice activist,” Kaplan became involved with America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) in 2006 when she spent a week interviewing James Cameron, the museum’s founder, for a film about his life. After his death and the closing of the 20-year-old museum, she remained in touch with his son. Her role as coordinator of ABHM’s Virtual Museum grew from that relationship. The Virtual Museum continues ABHM’s work online (abhmuseum.org), until it can reopen in brick-and-mortar form. [Editor’s Update: ABHM is now scheduled to open in a new building on Juneteenth Day 2018.] Off the Cuff spoke with Kaplan about the project’s goals and race relations in general.

Dr. Fran Kaplan discussing America's Black Holocaust Museum with Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI 4th District) and the staff of Congressman John Lewis (GA 5th District) in Washington, DC.

Dr. Fran Kaplan discusses America’s Black Holocaust Museum with Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI 4th District) and the staff of Congressman John Lewis (GA 5th District) in Washington, DC.

How would you describe the Black Holocaust Museum’s aims?

ABHM builds public awareness of the harmful legacies of slavery in America and promotes reconciliation and healing. We envision a society that remembers its past in order to shape a better future: an equitable society in which every person is equally valued and cared for, a country that is, in Dr. Cameron’s words, “a single and sacred nationality.”

What does your involvement entail?

As coordinator of ABHM’s Virtual Museum [Editor’s Note: Fall 2011-Fall 2017], I seek out and manage the resources—human and financial—that keep our online museum growing. I find volunteer academics and independent scholars to curate exhibits, along with student interns and community volunteers that produce other features. I also write grants and manage our local “offline” public programs, such as our popular film/dialogue series.

Why open a virtual museum? What are the benefits there?

In the 21st century, much of our lives are lived online. Information-based institutions are evolving to meet that reality. The Great Recession brought a significant reduction in funding. Buildings are expensive. Putting ABHM online was a financially prudent first step to its revival. Later we will reestablish our physical presence. Meantime, you can visit ABHM 24/7 for free—in your pajamas! Another benefit of going virtual has been discovering how many people around the world are interested in ABHM’s exhibits. The museum gets thousands of page views weekly from 200 countries.

Who do you see as your target demographic?

Americans aged 10 to 100—students, educators and the general public. The social studies taught in most American classrooms do not adequately prepare us to understand and repair our country’s long-standing racial divide. ABHM fills the gap by recounting the untold and seldom-told causes of that divide.

Milwaukee is widely known as one of the more racially segregated cities. How might the museum’s presence function against this backdrop?

By helping Milwaukeeans learn how our city came to be like this, in the context of our nation’s history, and by bringing black and non-black Milwaukeeans together in activities that build trust, deepen relationships, enable truthful exchanges and lay the groundwork for joint action.

Obviously we’re experiencing a cultural/political moment of heightened awareness around systemic racism. What role do you see the museum playing in this time of chaos?

ABHM teaches the difference between systemic (institutional) racism and personal prejudice, and how people have confronted both throughout history. We provide a safe place to discuss the issues.

As a white woman, do people ever question your involvement? What would be your response?

Sure, though they seldom ask me directly. Dr. Cameron welcomed non-black allies, calling us “freedom-loving whites.” ABHM works with black and white audiences. When I participated in the civil rights movement, black mentors explained why whites should help whites understand and make systemic change. I try to do that. I also do my work in consultation with our predominantly black board of directors and my African American colleagues, Brad Pruitt, ABHM’s community engagement coordinator, and Reggie Jackson, our Head Griot (docent/oral historian).

Obviously, the word “holocaust” is not reserved for Jews, however, it is commonly associated with the Jewish persecution by the Nazis, the Shoah. What are the pros and cons of using that word to describe black captivity in Africa through enslavement and up to the present day?

Being Jewish, I understand the urge to keep the term “holocaust” specific to the Shoah. When Dr. Cameron visited Yad V’Shem, the Shoah memorial in Jerusalem, he was struck by the similarities in the suffering of European Jews and African Americans, hence his museum’s name. A description of these similarities can be found at abhmuseum.org.

What is your ultimate goal for the project?

That one day, parents will bring their children to ABHM to wonder at the dinosaur-like fossils of the racial divide that we helped to heal long ago.