The Black History 101 Mobile Museum presented historical artifacts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Gaiser Hall on Jan. 17 to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and acknowledge the impact of slavery and racism in America.
The Mobile Museum has visited colleges in over 30 states over the last 12 years, but this is its first time visiting Clark. The display included a whip and shackles, letters from and about slaves, art criticizing the appearance of slaves and a historical exposure highlighting slavery survivors who changed the worlds of literature, invention, government and music.
“People don’t know the history of slaves and racism in America, reflected with articles here. They assume that racism is over,” Museum founder Khalid el-Hakim said. “The museum is to inspire people to look into historical figures and organizations to address these issues.”
El-Hakim said his favorite display is letters by former slaves George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington.
“No matter who you are there will be something on the table that will draw you in,” el-Hakim said. Certain artifacts showed what it’s like to be compared to animals or subhuman.
He chose the 1968 theme in honor of this year’s 50th anniversary of King’s assassination and the cultural revolution of that era.
Keynote speaker Professor Griff of the hip hop group Public Enemy spoke about black history from 1-2 p.m.
Mobile Museum curator Omari Barksdale said black people in 1968 saw unity despite the loss of King, which was captured in music like James Brown’s song “Say it loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.”
“Music is an undeniable force,” Barksdale said. “Motown era of music changed the world. It brought black and white folks together.”