Alan Page's 'Testify' exhibit looks at history of U.S. race relations

- When the Super Bowl comes to town next month, football fans will get a chance to see an interesting exhibit at the Hennepin County Library in downtown Minneapolis.

One of the greats of the gridiron is displaying his personal collection of Americana, from the days of slavery to today. Alan Page was one of the Vikings famed "Purple People Eaters" and later a justice on the State Supreme Court.

He and his wife are turning their attention to the current state of race relations by looking at its history. From the art to the artifacts, Diane and Alan Page's home in south Minneapolis is filled with pieces of the past. Now, they are sharing some of their prized possessions with the rest of the world.

"It's been wild to sort out which pieces go in, how to display them, all that," said Alan Page.

The couple started collecting memorabilia 30 years ago as way to teach their children about the nation's troubled history with race relations.

"We wanted them to understand that they could play a role in making this world a better place," Page said.

But some pieces, like a funeral banner for Abraham Lincoln, are also signs of hope.

"People at that time understood the importance of Lincoln and the importance of coming together as a country - being one country," Page said.

Starting Monday, about 100 items from their collection from tools of oppression to means of expression will be on display at the Minneapolis Central Library. The couple hopes they're not just food for thought, but a call to action.

"We have to deal with the past and at the same time work towards the future," Page said.

The 'Testify' exhibit opens on Monday, but there is a special reception that is open to the public at the central library Thursday Jan. 11 from 7 to 8 p.m.

The library will also screen a couple of films about Page's life and contributions and Page will talk about the protests by NFL players during Super Bowl week.

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