Community Invited to 2021 City of Bloomington Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration

(BLOOMINGTON) – Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton invites the community to the 2021 City of Bloomington Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration, Monday, January 18th. 

To be held virtually this year, the event will include remarks by Hamilton, members of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Commission, and others starting at 7 p.m. With the theme, “The Truth Hurts: Black History and Healing the Racial Divide,” the event will feature a keynote presentation by Dr. Khalid el-Hakim.  The event will also feature music and dance performances by the Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble (directed by Dr. Raymond Wise) and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department, as well as the presentation of the Commission’s MLK Legacy Award.  Members of the public may obtain a link to the free online program by registering in advance at

Keynote speaker Dr. Khalid el-Hakim is the founder and curator of the Black History 101 Mobile Museum, a collection of over 7,000 original artifacts of Black memorabilia dating from the trans-Atlantic slave trade era to hip-hop culture. His passionate commitment to carry on the rich tradition of the Black Museum Movement has earned el-Hakim the nickname “Schomburg of the Hip Hop generation.” In 2013, el-Hakim published The Center of the Movement: Collecting Hip Hop Memorabilia, a groundbreaking book on the material artifacts of hip hop culture.  He has also worked for over twenty years in the hip hop industry as a manager and/or booking agent for artists such as The Last Poets, Proof of D12, Jessica Care Moore, and Professor Griff of Public Enemy.  Dr. el-Hakim taught middle school social studies in Detroit for 15 years and received his Ph.D. from the College of Education at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.

Major event underwriters include the City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department, Indiana University, Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, Cook Inc., and Boston Scientific. Event sponsors include Lola B. Debro and Family, Ivy Tech Community College, the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Bloomington, Old National Bank, and the Monroe County Board of Commissioners and Human Rights Commission.

For a list of Martin Luther King Day of Service volunteer opportunities and other activities, visit or contact Michael Shermis, Special Projects Coordinator, at 812-349-3471 or