In honor of both Black History Month and the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, Dr. Khalid el-Hakim is bringing his Black History 101 Mobile Museum to Cochise College’s Douglas and Sierra Vista campuses.
The exhibit was at the Douglas Campus on Feb. 21 and will be at the Sierra Vista Campus on Feb. 22 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
For el-Hakim, who’s a former social studies teacher based out of Michigan, it is about keeping U.S. History comprehensive through the lens of the Black experience while celebrating and destigmatizing hip-hop culture.
This year’s exhibit features more than 200 artifacts and spans from the transatlantic slave trade to the rise of hip-hop culture in the early 1970s. El-Hakim says that he curated the exhibit through the lens of different social movements.
“People have this misconception of hip-hop culture being violent or misogynistic,” said el-Hakim. “And I think that hip-hop culture at its best helps to transform communities, it helps to transform peoples’ ways of thinking, and it addresses social injustice.”
He says it is critical now more than ever to keep the dialogue open around our nation’s complex and brutal history with systemic racism.
“Especially at a time where so many states, now, who are challenging — and actually — pulling out Black studies and ethnic studies as well,” el-Hakim said. “It’s very important that we create an environment where students are critical thinkers and demand from educational institutions that the full history of the Black experience is understood and seen as a part of the American experience.”
El-Hakim, who founded and personally financed the Black History 101 Mobile Museum, said that over the past 30-years, he has collected more than 10,000 artifacts. He has been traveling across the U.S. with the museum since 2011; this year alone, he has traveled to 15 other locations across four states so far.
Cochise College Spanish Instructor and event coordinator Jessamyn Snider says this event costs approximately $6,000 to bring the exhibit to both campuses. She said that she hopes the exhibit will give the community a safe-space to reflect.
“It can be very difficult sometimes to have those conversations … Especially when these same moments continue to repeat themselves,” said Snider. “So, I hope that the students and community members will find a safe-space within this museum to consider and reflect upon different struggles and topics and how our communities and individuals continue to be affected.”