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Museum of African American History in Muskegon Heights begins effort to offer virtual tours of collection

The James Jackson Museum of African American History remains closed to visitors due to COVID-19.

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — A small museum in Muskegon Heights allows visitors to dig deep into the contributions of African Americans to the growth of Muskegon County and America. But due to COVID-19 the items and stories inside the James Jackson Museum of African American History can't be shared with visitors because the museum remain closed.

"It's what required of the situation," said museum president William C. Muhammad.

The museum is named after Dr. James Jackson, a physician and civil rights activist who moved his family to Muskegon County in the 1960's.

"And encountered a large amount of segregation and institutional racism," Muhammad said.

Jackson spent the rest of his life standing for equality for all people. He died in 2018 at the age of 86.

On display at the museum is a large collection of items Jackson collected and during his lifetime of activism in the Muskegon area and other items on loan or donated to the museum.

"Many things that you will not find anywhere else," Muhammad said. "The community has just reached out and helped us make this museum what it is, we look at it as a community museum."

Sharing the stories in person may be on hold because of COVID-19 but Muhammad is beginning an effort to offer virtual tours of the museum.

He believes the stories collected inside the museum may prove valuable to the current conversations on race, equality, and social justice happening in Muskegon County and in communities all around the country.

"That rear view mirror hopefully we can use that to help us gauge where we are and guide us into our future," Muhammad said.

The James Jackson Museum of African American History is located at 7 E. Center Street in Muskegon Heights.

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