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'I could almost cry right now,' community showing support for activist's exhibit

For 15 years, Sharon Harper has created her Black history exhibit. Thursday was one of her biggest displays with Mayor Eric Genrich, city officials in attendance
Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-08 19:04:48-05

GREEN BAY (NBC26) — For the 15th year, Sharon Harper presented her Black history exhibit. This year, it was bigger than ever, highlighting well-known and unknown facts and Black figures throughout U.S. history.

  • Video shows a local activist's expansive Black history exhibit at UW-Green Bay.
  • Green Bay mayor, Eric Genrich, and other city officials went to the event. More than 50 students from Franklin Middle School were also in attendance.
  • Sharon Harper has created the exhibit for 15 years and has plans to present it outside of February this year.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Sharon Harper is a notable activist in Green Bay and for the 15th year she created a black history exhibit that now stretches across a 8140 sq. ft. room.

"I’ve been up since five this morning," Harper said.

Harper said setting everything up can be exhausting.

"It takes two hours but I couldn’t do it by myself," Harper said. Her son, Shawn, helped her set up the exhibit at UW-GB Thursday morning.

"I’m never going to be tired of teaching and learning and loving," Harper said.

She’s been doing this for 15 years — A Black history exhibit featuring well-known and unknown facts and figures.

"When I was younger, that was stuff I didn’t want to be bothered with," Harper said. "As I got older I realized that if you don’t know your history, you’ll repeat it."

Harper said she usually presents at elementary schools.

For Thursday’s event, students from Franklin Middle School came to check it out.

"I could almost cry right now because this is what I want," Harper said. "This is why I work as hard as I do, this is why I work ten hours, this is what I do for them, the young people."

City officials were also in attendance including mayor Eric Genrich.

The exhibit features everything from the history of African kingdoms prior to slavery to figures that influenced today’s pop culture.

"Black history is everyone’s history," Charles Caston of We All Rise: African American Resource Center, said. "It speaks to her personality, it speaks to her as a person."

Harper said the exhibit is about spreading love through the evolution of Black history.

"If you don’t know where you came from you don’t know where you can go," Harper said.

Harper said this won't just be a February thing, but has plans to present all-year round.