MICHIGAN CITY – The new mayor issued her first proclamation last week, honoring the life and legacy of late historian Allen Williams.

“Mr. Williams has been a figurehead as a historian for the African American community in Michigan City and La Porte County,” Mayor Angie Nelson Deuitch said. “His Black History Month exhibit shows the tremendous impact he had on this community in providing that resource to not just students but adults as well.”

Williams spent decades curating a vast collection of news articles, books, movies, art, clothing, tools, historical artifacts and more, which he fashioned into an immersive and educational exhibit that traditionally opened to the public each year around Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

His thorough retelling of King’s history and impact had its place in the exhibit; but most of Williams’ work highlighted contributions from Black leaders, innovators, humanitarians and others from around the globe and dating as far back as 1500 B.C.

“I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in Mr. Williams’ living room talking with him and listening to the history of our local African American leaders from the past,” Nelson Deuitch said. “You need to understand your history to make decisions for the present. And Mr. Williams has done that for me, making sure I understand whose shoulders I stand on. His exhibit was a reminder to reflect before you make decisions. You don’t want to mess it up because everybody’s counting on you.”

Nelson Deuitch issued her proclamation on Sunday, Jan. 21 at the Salvation Army of Michigan City.