An Audiovisual Resource on Michigan Civil Rights History (Planning Site)

Grant Proposal

2005 MSU/DPTV/Michigan Historical Center

IMLS-Partnership for a Nation of Learners Community Collaboration Grants

NARRATIVE: From Resistance to Rights

Michigan State University, in partnership with Detroit Public Television and the Michigan Historical Center, proposes to develop a rich set of publicly available multi-media resources on African American history in Michigan and to train social studies teachers to bring the resources into Michigan classrooms. This project will locate the emerging record of the Underground Railroad’s resistance to slavery within the historical contours of the struggle for civil rights. Through archival public television programs and interviews, curated excerpts of legal documents, images including photographs and drawings, contextual narrative and carefully linked metadata, the project will explore Detroit’s role as a site of contestation between anti- and pro-slavery forces, Michigan as a microcosm of national and international forces of slavery and freedom, and the connections among 19th and 20th century dimensions of America’s civil rights movement. Through detailed exploration of this history, the project aims to advance the audience’s understandings of civic engagement in public and legal processes – in short, what citizens in a democratic society can do when they believe a law is unjust.

The project will accomplish these goals through innovative, mutually supporting sets of audiovisual resources drawing upon and then strengthening the special capabilities of the partners. A model project for all three partners, “From Resistance to Rights” will produce three dissemination vehicles closely linked together and thematically unified around the state’s freedom journey. The archival holdings of each partner will be the basis for a new Detroit Public TV broadcast of its long-running American Black Journal, a new demonstration exhibit at the Michigan Historical Center, and an innovative online resource from MATRIX that links all of these activities through contextual documents and images, specially-tagged, searchable videos, and educational materials. A teacher Advisory Board consisting of representatives of several existing networks of social studies teachers in the state will guide the framing of the project for grade 4 (Michigan History), high school (US History), and a variety of introductory college history classes. A professional development workshop for social studies teachers and dissemination through teacher networks will be designed to encourage practitioners across the state to incorporate the new materials into their history teaching. Evaluation instruments will assess the adoption of this project’s materials into classrooms; and a dedicated demonstration kiosk at the MHC Museum will provide visitor and user feedback to inform the next generation of programs in this series.

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