|After 16 years in the antique exhibition business, Malinda Saunders is no longer sponsoring the Washington, D.C. area's only black memorabilia show. However, Lindsey Johnson, a Gaithersburg, Maryland-based promoter, is continuing the tradition with the Greater Washington, D.C. Black Memorabilia and Collectible Show at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg. "I'm very elated that he has decided to continue what we have started," said Saunders.
Johnson has been sponsoring shows for more than seven years in Gaithersburg. "For the first three years I was promoting movie and TV memorabilia shows and for the last four years antique and collectibles shows," he said. Besides promoting shows, he and his wife have owned a retail shop, Gaithersburg Antique and Home Accessories, for the past six years.
Though Johnson has spent much time buying and selling items ranging from Star Trek collectibles to Victorian and Americana furniture, black memorabilia has been a part of his operations and has a special meaning to him. "It relates to the journey we have taken," he said.
Black memorabilia consist of items made by, written by or are about a black person. These items include dolls, books, historical papers, slavery related items, records, stamps, coins, and mass-produced household goods. Sometimes called "black collectibles" or "black Americana," black memorabilia also include recently published literature, sculpture, toys, jewelry, and art.
Saunders along with Jeanette Carson pioneered the promotion of black antique shows. As M&J Productions, they founded the first black memorabilia show in 1984. That first show drew 600 people.
After the dissolution of M&J Productions, Saunders formed UNICA Shows in 1989 and began sponsoring Washington's annual March Black Memorabilia and Collectors' Showcase, formerly held in Silver Spring, Md. Over the years, Saunders hosted black memorabilia shows in Princeton, N.J., Denver, Colo., Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif. and in her hometown, Norfolk, Va. Carson promoted events in Richmond, Va., Philadelphia, Pa. and New York City.
At its closing, UNICA's Washington event was the nation's oldest annual black memorabilia show and sale. Saunders will continue sponsoring the national capital area's annual Black Doll Show in November.
The Greater Washington, D.C. Black Memorabilia and Collectible Show takes place Saturday, March 31 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is only $4. For additional information, contact Johnson at 301-216-0876.