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Donor wants slavery artifacts back

April 12, 2011 at 5:02 PM   |   Comments

SUFFOLK, Va., April 12 (UPI) -- A Virginia man is trying to trace artifacts he donated to a proposed museum of slavery in 2004.

Therbia Parker of Suffolk estimates the value of the items at $75,000, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday. He said it included an 1850 bill of sale for two slaves -- a girl and child -- a slave collar and a first edition copy of "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

Douglas Wilder, the first black state governor since the Reconstruction era, proposed the National Slavery Museum in 1993, selecting a site in Fredericksburg. Wilder still says the museum will be built.

But Parker says the non-profit group backing the museum has been dissolved, the group owes Fredericksburg thousands of dollars for taxes and an engineering firm has a lien on the land.

Parker still has a large collection at his house from the slave era that ended with the Civil War and the Jim Crow era that followed it. Some of the more disturbing items include a blood-spattered Ku Klux Klan robe and a set of slave shackles.

"The worst thing you can do about history is deny it," Parker said. "My wife and I wanted them to be in a place where the public can view them, where they can be used as an educational tool. I didn't collect all this for all these years for me. This wasn't for me. It wasn't for Doug Wilder either."

Parker also distrusts Wilder's promise that his artifacts are in safe storage.

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