The Petersen Automotive Museum hosted a special panel discussion honoring Black History Month featuring “The Jenkins Bus”.
Sometimes when we appreciate old buildings or items, we wishfully think to ourselves, “Oh, imagine the stories that could tell.” Just seeing the picture of this 1966 Volkswagen Type 2 Bus brings such thoughts to me. Honored by the title “The Jenkins Bus”, the rusty, worn out vehicle cemented itself in history, collecting experiences while performing extraordinary duties. If you’re curious about the stories this van could tell, luckily the Petersen Museum had a few special guests in attendance that provided some insight.
On Saturday, February 8, the Petersen Museum hosted an event detailing the role this bus had in South Carolina. “The Jenkins Bus” was used by Esau and Janie B. Jenkins on John’s Island, South Carolina, to transport fellow African Americans to Charleston. The goal of these trips was to seek improved education, better jobs, and the chance at truly living the American dream.
The discussion panel was comprised of three members from the Jenkins family (Elaine Jenkins, Jelani Jenkins and David Grimball), as well as Petersen Director of Education and Programming Jason Hartwig. The Historic Vehicle Association Curator, Casey Maxon and Machelle Williams, Sr. Director, Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility were also a part of the panel.
The VW Type 2 bus will be on display at the Petersen until June 2020.