Black History Mobile Museum on Display at Ferris

pictureBIG RAPIDS – Khalid el-Hakim has been getting a lot of attention for his efforts to spread knowledge of Black history and experience through his traveling exhibit of African-American cultural artifacts.

The Black History 101 Mobile Museum will make a pit stop at Ferris Oct. 15 through 17 and be on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Rankin Student Center Whitney Young Room.

  • A 2002 Michigan Citizen article reported on how el-Hakim traveled to Chicago to meet Sam Greenlee, who penned the late-60s radical novel The Spook Who Sat by the Door. el-Hakim, who studied business education and social studies at Ferris, returned from his Chicago trip with a signed copy of a poster for the novel and a vintage 8-track tape of Eldridge Cleaver speaking.
  • A 2005 Detroit News story details how he went to Howell, Mich., and bought a scrapbook of newspaper clippings compiled by Robert Miles at an auction of the late Ku Klux Klan leader's possessions.
  • A 2007 Detroit Free Press article noted el-Hakim's collection had grown to 1,500 items and that he was retrofitting a 30-foot-long trailer to serve as a movable exhibition, called the Black History 101 Mobile Museum, giving the Detroit Public Schools social studies teacher the ability to expand his passion for education beyond traditional classroom walls.
  • And an article this past spring in the Michigan Daily reported that el-Hakim was curator for a display of artifacts at the University of Michigan's first Hip Hop Congress Summit.

el-Hakim was inspired by Ferris professor of Sociology (and now Ferris' Chief Diversity Officer) David Pilgrim, who founded the University's Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia.

"I would like to use the mobile museum to offer the community an opportunity to see rare material artifacts that celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans," says el-Hakim. "Being a public school teacher for the past 14 years, I have seen first-hand that many history textbooks only focus on African American contributions and experiences in slavery and the Civil Rights era. So, the Black History 101 Mobile Museum helps to fill in some of those huge historical gaps."

The refurbished museum had its debut at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit this past April. The museum was also at the Heidelberg Project on the east side of Detroit once a week this past summer. One of the museum's exhibits was featured at the Malcolm X Celebration in Malcolm's hometown of Omaha, Neb., May 16, and returned on Aug. 16 for the Black August celebration headlined by the hip hop group Dead Prez and Mos Def.

14 October, 2008