Museum stops at MHCC to honor King
To mark the birthday of civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr., Mt. Hood Community College is hosting several events including a stop by the Black History 101 Mobile Museum and a lecture by Khalid el-Hakim, founder and curator of the unique museum.
"We're really looking forward to coming to Mt. Hood and showing what we have," el-Hakim said.
The Mobile Museum will have between 150 to 200 items on display at MHCC. The table top exhibit will be an overview of the museum's collection.
El-Hakim also said the MHCC stop will include a "very special guest" who is a well-known hip hop artist, but declined to name the person.
He hopes visitors to the museum will get several things out of their visit.
"First and foremost, I hope people will walk away with a better understanding of the huge gaps in the history they are taught in school," he said.
El-Hakim also wants folks to better understand the contributions of black people in American and world history.
"I also hope it will encourage people to do their own research, attend museums, and if black culture is not represented, encourage the museums to be more inclusive," he explained.
El-Hakim, who had been an avid private collector, founded the museum in 1995 as a way to share his historical and cultural items and educate people.
He was inspired to start the museum by attending the Million Man March, a massive gathering of African-American men in Washington, D.C. in October 1995. March speakers urged the men to go back to their communities and make a difference.
He was also motivated by college professor David Pilgrim at Ferris State University, who uses artifacts, historical objects and primary source documents to inspire his students.
El-Hakim became a middle school social studies teacher and began collecting and using the same type of historical artifacts to engage his students. He scouts antique shops, garage sales and other places where artifacts might lurk.
The museum's collection includes slave shackles, a document signed by Malcom X and an old drinking fountain sign that indicates different spots for white and "colored."
The collection also includes a Ku Klux Klan hood, a slave bill of sale and vintage magazines.
The museum makes more than 70 stops per year. El-Hakim curates a show, packs the materials and ships them to the site. He flies to the next show and sets up the display.
"I encourage people to come with an open mind," he said, "and challenge themselves with things in the museums."
If you go
The Black History 101 Mobile Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, in the Mt. Hood Community College Student Union (Room AC1051) at the main campus, 26000 S.E. Stark St. Founder, curator and former middle school teacher Khalid el-Hakim said the museum is appropriate for all ages.
The Black History 101 Mobile Museum's exhibit is "Parallels in Time," featuring over 150 original artifacts documenting the black experience from slavery to hip hop.
Khalid el-Hakim's lecture will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, also in the Student Union. His remarks will be wide-ranging and will touch on the role and impact of Martin Luther King Jr. on the civil rights movement.
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