FOREST CITY | Waldorf University students and the public viewed items from a traveling black history museum Monday that ranged from African artifacts to memorabilia from Barack Obama's presidency.
They also received a Martin Luther King Jr. Day challenge from Fred Saffold, founder of the True Black History Museum.
"Consider becoming an ally for social justice," he said during a presentation on campus.
If someone in your inner circle does or says something that goes against the human and civil rights of someone else, "You have to call it out," Saffold said. "That takes courage."
He said one thing King talked about was "the appalling silence of good people" that allows racism and injustice to continue.
Saffold said King's spirit needs to be brought into 2019, and not just for one day.
"Dr. King, if he were here today, would not be very happy," he said. "He'd be raising hell right now."
Many times people like to "put him (King) in a little box" and don't think of him beyond the "I Have a Dream" speech, Saffold said.
However, there was even more to him than that, according to Saffold.
Toward the end of King's life, he was vilified and lost a lot of support because he spoke out against the Vietnam War, he said.
When King was assassinated in 1968, he was working on behalf of exploited workers, Saffold said.
Saffold said he started the True Black History Museum because knowing where you come from and who you are is essential to forming a sense of self.
"This was for the most part stolen from persons of African descent," he said.
Some of the 150 items in the traveling museum "are going to bring a smile, some might make you cry, and some might flat-out make you angry," Saffold said.
The museum, which has been viewed by more than 60,000 people, includes signed photographs, books and other items from King, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Booker T. Washington and many others.
There's also items from the slavery era, including a child-size pair of shackles.
One of the last items people view as they go through the traveling museum is a Marvel comic book from January 2009 titled "Spidey Meets the President!" Spider-Man and President Obama are pictured on the cover.
Saffold said his father grew up in Montgomery, Alabama during the Jim Crow era, when it was dangerous for black people like him to talk back to white people or even look them in the eye.
Saffold said one day when his dad was 16 or 17, the insurance man, who was white, stopped by the house to collect the premium and cursed out his mother, who was going blind and didn't give him the right change.
Saffold's dad jumped on the insurance man. That very night, he was driven out of town by the KKK.
Saffold said this kind of "domestic terrorism" isn't that far in our country's past.
People are still protesting racial injustice today, including athletes who take a knee during the national anthem to call attention to police shooting unarmed black people, he said.
Waldorf student Jason Seaberg said Saffold's presentation "helped me realize that white supremacy is still a really big thing in today's society and is kind of gave me some motivation to do some research on how to get it stopped."