Monday, February 25, 2013, Frostburg State University held an event on the history of African- Americans. This event was called “Black History 101,” it was a mobile museum of black history art held in the ARMAH at Frostburg State University. The event was said to have a distinguished guest speaker Professor Griff from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominated Hip-Hop group, Public Enemy.
The hall lights were dimmed to create the ambience of a museum in the hall. Students lined up outside to be greeted by the front door coordinators, who asked for signatures to benefit their event’s cause. Students lined up on the outside of the neatly decorated tables where historical pieces lay. The curator Khalid el-Hakim set up the artifacts as if you were walking through history, starting from the late 1800s to the early 1990s. The exhibit began with early slavery where slaves were being sold to the highest bidder. The table was filled with fliers, pictures, and bone chilling artifacts that were slavery oriented. There was a sign positioned at the top the table, with bold writing that said “to be sold and let by public auction, Monday the 18th of May, 1829.” There were also a block of cotton and a pair of rusty, brown, and heavy shackles on the table. Mr. el-Hakim said that he “purchased this particular piece from an antique store. It was found in a barn on a plantation in South Carolina.” Faces began cringing as they continued down the exhibit. There was a picture of the KKK rallying themselves in a community basement, pictures of burning crosses, and pictures of African slaves hanging from trees. The atmosphere thickened as people held their chest in unbelief and shock. Sierra Messam says that she “cannot believe that our country was built on something so disgusting and terrible.” There were also pictures of entertainment objects that ridiculed and mocked the African race. Toys, gifts, cards, books, and music were being sold for the entertainment of the white race. Toys with black kids dressed in ridiculous clothing, books with derogatory statements; “black face” was a type of theatrical performance that mocked and stereotyped slave living. All of this was the beginning of America’s history.
The exhibit moved on with the history of segregation and the fight of African- Americans freedom. Posters of Malcolm X who spoke on black supremacy and advocated the civil rights movement; Martin Luther King who spoke on peace, equality in society, and lead the March on Washington; Muhammad Ali one of the greatest black athletes in history who out boxed whites and other opponents to reach the top; so may greats who fought for the civil freedom we have today. He also had a whole table dedicated to the Black Panthers and the “Black Power” movement. Great black actors like Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett were recognized in the exhibit. Alexandra Lee pointed to the Denzel Washington picture saying “I just can’t get enough of Denzel.” There was one whole table involving black music and musicians that took a stand against racism in the early ‘80s and ‘90s; People like Ice Cube, NWA, A Tribe Called Quest, The Fugees and so many other great artists. Over all this was a great event and it taught students the relevance and importance of black history.