The steady devaluation of knowledge within the United States and world communities is creating a deep void of ignorance, leaving historical realities buried and wisdom supressed. Where the institutes of education are failing, the responsibility comes upon individuals to deliver an alternative.
For Khalid el-Hakim, his journey has led to the creation of a history museum that comes directly to the people.
The Black History 101 Mobile Museum is el-Hakim’s guided mission towards creating a new model of historical museum that will work for today’s communities. With over five thousand unique items in the collection, representing twenty years of acquisitions, he is able to create different lesson plans through his exhibits, each one able to pack away small enough for travel on the road.
The museum’s primary artifacts include photographs, documents, letters, posters and publications, including rare signed documents from Booker T. Washington, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali.
The impact of el-Hakim’s work is being felt in educational centers throughout the nation, with a growing reputation for providing important lessons at different institutions, including universities, places of worship and community centers. He schedules his appearances independently, relying on years of great relationship building with individuals who celebrate and support his vision.
“The Black History Museum is a unique piece of living history,” says Dr. Barbara Williams Emerson, a veteran activist for civil rights and Secretary for Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless. “Not just one piece but many hundreds of pieces of living history that will illustrate to people things that they may have read about or heard about, but will give you a tactile real representation of history.”
From the history of slavery and oppressive Jim Crow laws to the modern political world, the museum is a centerpiece available to be brought in by current leaders of scholarly and cultural work.
“It’s really Black History 101, it’s really basic things that we should have received from our instructors and the educational system here in America,” says Professor Griff, a Hip Hop pioneer with the group Public Enemy, “but since they leave out those critical aspects that would give us a deeper understanding of who we are as a people, that gives us a clue as to the mission and work of Khalid el-Hakim and myself.”
The Black History 101 Mobile Museum is presented through different exhibits, each curated to highlight different elements of African American culture.
“Drum Majors For Justice” exhibits items from a history of African American politicians and grassroots leaders, those who worked to guide the United States through a severly turbulent period of segregation and injustice up until today. This exhibit is supported by Khalid el-Hakim’s new book Drum Majors For Justice, a collection of one hundred one inspirational quotes from historical political officers.
“Necessary” is a study of the life and legacy of Malcolm X, items and images representing his roots, education and evolution towards becoming one of the most influential world leaders of the Twentieth Century. Malcolm X’s global impact still resonates today through his demands for freedom and justice to all peoples in all nations.
“And The Legacy Continues…” is a history of Hip Hop culture, beginning with collectors items from root artists like Gil Scott Heron and the Last Poets, through the legacy of pioneering groups like Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions, to a greater understanding of recent artists like 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Proof and J Dilla, all of whom have directly impacted the current global foundation of Hip Hop culture.
The Black History 101 Mobile Museum continues to acquire items for display, and already has a long schedule of tour dates for 2012. The goal of each public exhibit is to bring people together through the sharing of knowledge.
“My mission is to raise the consciousness of the human family by sharing artifacts that celebrate the contributions, achievements, and experiences of African Americans,” says el-Hakim. “I want people to walk away as inspired as I’ve been as a collector and student of this history.”