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Kalamazoo Remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior

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Over the next week, Kalamazoo will again reflect and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.

There are many opportunities across the city to learn or volunteer. But Natalia Carvalho-Pinto, the director for intercultural student life at Kalamazoo College, says MLK Day begins with the annual convocation.

Carvalho-Pinto says this year's keynote speaker, Khalid el-Hakim, not only brings his own words and thoughts, but also a traveling museum of artifacts.

Credit Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University

“Khalid is the founder and curator for the Black History 101 Mobile Museum. That’s a museum of about 7,000 original artifacts, of black memorabilia that dates back from chains of the time of slavery. He also travels around with memorabilia from Jim Crow all the way through the Civil Rights era.”

El-Hakim is a Western Michigan University alum who takes his nationally-recognized museum on the road across the country.

“His presentation, and the museum exhibit, is going to focus more on folks who picked up where Dr. King had left off. We always talk about the Civil Rights movement like only one person is responsible for the movement and change. But he actually is going to talk about the legacies of people who picked up Dr. King’s work.”

Carvalho-Pinto, who has a hand in the speaker selection process, says she hopes the community, and especially area college students, find El- Hakim’s words to be valuable.

“I think Khalid and his work at this moment is really, really relevant, because I think we need to be reminded of that history and that trajectory, and how there always been struggles. I think we forget that sometimes, I think sometimes we get caught up in what’s happening now versus really trying to look at that trajectory of how we got to where we are, and how do we still encourage change.”

El-Hakim will deliver his speech, entitled “Truth,” at 10:50 a.m. on Monday, January 21, in the Dalton Center at Kalamazoo College.

You'll find a complete list of other events here.

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