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90-Year-Old Staten Island Woman to Auction Her Extensive 20,000 Piece Collection of African-American History

A former Staten Island teacher, who amassed a 20,000-piece collection of artifacts reflecting the African American experience, will place the lot up for auction. The 90-year-old Black woman — asking the question, “What is the value of the story of a people?” — will start the bid at one million dollars. 

According to CBS, the collection’s owner and curator Elizabeth Meaders has been acquiring pieces for the last 60 years, storing them in her modest Staten Island home. Meadors has decided to work with Guernsey’s Auction House to sell the properties that she calls the “African American History Trust Collection.” 

Elizabeth Meaders in her home (CBS News Morning Screenshot)

The nonagenarian said that she was “obsessed with collecting African-American history,” and it has “soothed her soul” to preserve the history for all people.

She said that she wanted to create a “patriotic healing and teaching instrument, to compensate for the fact that as a teacher and just as an ordinary citizen” she knows “that African-American history has been completely omitted from American history.”

Her statements come as a wave of states have adopted anti-critical race theory legislation, that prevents teachers from exploring aspects of Black history like slavery and civil rights because it allegedly promotes societal guilt and makes children feel bad about being white.

Meaders has organized the pieces, which included thousands of posters, books, slave shackles, clothing, statues, rare photographs and various other artifacts, by eras and themes, occupying every part of her home. “I have 14 museums in my house,” she said.

One photo in her collection is a picture of “slaves being branded,” a “bronze statue of Joe Lewis” and a pair of Muhammad Ali’s shoes in her lot.

Read full story at Atlanta Black Star here.

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