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ILLUMINATION 2023-24: 'Michael Kay' Klindt

Illumination Annual Story and Public History Project

'Michael Kay' Klindt

Photo credit: Marcus Holloway

Michael was the interviewer and videographer for this year’s ILLUMINATION project. Adding Michael’s story to our curation was a team decision. He is uniquely positioned as the only Black teacher at Springfield high school. We thought his perspective was greatly needed to round out the overall storytelling tapestry of the project. His interview is special because he not only tells his own story, he also gives insight into his experience interviewing the other participants.

“I did a project called African-American History Project and myself and four other middle school students with the mentorship of Bob Bolden(sp), Miso KawaiJoe(sp), Cal Coleman(sp), Mr. White(sp). We did what's called the African-American History Project, and we interviewed the four eldest living matriarchs, African-American matriarchs of Eugene. So Ms. Washington, Ms. Reynolds Ms. Mims. Ms. Johnson… When this project came to my attention and they invited me to a meeting, I thought, man, I helped capture the legacy of those women who are no longer here. That was what, almost 30 years ago, and I just thought as a part of my own legacy… I should probably be a part of helping capture this moment in time just to bring that full circle.”

* * *

“Grabbing a camera almost 30 years ago helped give purpose, and meaning, and direction to my life. And so, it's only natural that I that I pass that on. A lot of students here that are struggling and maybe they're not into sports and into they… You know, don't feel connected with some of their teachers… Being the only Black teacher in the building, other students who, who may look like me or have some cultural continuities (or) identifications with me... Showing them the camera, giving them the camera, or giving them a way to tell their story, and to understand the significance of their voice - whether it be in front of the camera or behind the camera, is hugely important."