“The collection originated in East Orange, New Jersey,” he explained. “It originated with Howard Wolverton, who was a history teacher for predominately black students in high school there.”
This collection contains more than 2,000 relics ranging from books and photos along with chains and branding irons that might be a little more difficult for people to absorb.
“There are items that I have a difficult time dealing with,” said Johnson. “The shackles, the branding iron – I have a difficult time with those things. It is important because that is American history. It is the dark side of American history that many people would not accept and want to forget. But guess what? It’s part of history and we should be proud of our history. We are Americans.”
For some, these items can bring out a lot of emotion.
“I see people who almost draw tears,” Johnson said. “When you see how somebody was shackled, it brings tears to some people’s eyes. Can you imagine being branded with a branding iron? It’s horrific.”
Jacob Johnson III is an African American Black Americana Appraiser and Conservator of such memorabilia. Johnson is a renowned professional whose expertise is relied upon to properly capture American History.