Tag: Civil Rights Museum

Ball State Students Work to Transform City Bus into Traveling Civil Rights Museum

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MUNCIE, Indiana — A team of Ball State University students is advancing the dreams of local leaders to turn a retired Muncie city bus into a mobile museum exploring the history of civil rights in east central Indiana. When completed in early 2016, the Freedom Bus will be ready to roll out for local Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.

The bus has been an educational project 10 years in the making. “So much of the work and fundraising so far has focused on getting the bus back out on the road,” said Beth Messner, an associate professor of Communications at Ball State and member of Muncie’s non-profit Martin Luther King Dream Team.

Vivian Conley
Vivian Conley

This fall, Messner and 14 students participating in an immersive learning course turned their attention to the inside of the bus, creating prototypes for exhibits showcasing the histories of central Indiana residents active in the civil rights movement. For example, visitors will learn about Muncie resident Vivian Conley, involved with the 1950s campaign to desegregate the city’s public pool, and Anderson sports legend Johnny Wilson, who played a key role in breaking down the color barrier in college basketball.

Jumpin' Johnny Wilson
Jumpin’ Johnny Wilson

This year, work continues on the bus as Ball State students test out a curriculum for its exhibits and Messner seeks grant funding for professional fabrication of the prototypes inside.

Asked what she hopes grade-school students who someday tour it will take away from the bus, junior history major Meghan Waddle said, “I hope it helps them make a more personal connection to history.” Adds junior telecommunications major Casey Marrero, “I want them to learn from it, get to know their community better, and leave feeling inspired.”

Sponsors for The Freedom Bus project include Ball State, Muncie’s Martin Luther King Dream Team, the Muncie Human Rights Commission, Muncie Indiana Transit System (MITS), the city of Muncie, and the university’s Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Civil and Human Rights Museum to Open in Atlanta

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Portraits of rights activists at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. (Credit: Dustin Chambers for The New York Times)

ATLANTA — Far from his typical Broadway haunts, the director George C. Wolfe was walking through a construction site here this spring when, amid a cacophony of saws and drills, he stopped and stood before what was to become a replica of a lunch counter that he said would claw visitors back into history.

The display at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Mr. Wolfe said, would allow people to don headphones, rest their hands on the counter and hear a volley of heckles similar to what demonstrators heard during the civil rights movement.

“You’re in the moment,” Mr. Wolfe, the center’s chief creative officer, said, his voice rising. “You’re in the times. You’re experiencing the euphoria and the danger that was existing at the time.”

For Mr. Wolfe and the museum’s supporters, summoning the South’s past in a dramatic way is an unequaled opportunity for Atlanta to showcase a present well beyond CNN, Coca-Cola and a vast international airport. Civic boosters contend that the museum will fuel tourism, broaden the city’s reputation and become a place that could host international human rights events.

Whether the $80 million complex — backed by a mix of public and private funding, with the land donated by Coca-Cola — will fulfill the entirety of that lofty vision is a question that could take decades to answer. But Doug Shipman, the center’s chief executive, said it would be both a vivid link to the city’s rich civil rights history and a prod toward social change.

“This isn’t about specialists,” Mr. Shipman said. “This isn’t about academics. This is trying to take a 15-year-old and move them to interest and inspiration.”

The center, set along the northern edge of Pemberton Place, an area honoring the pharmacist who created Coca-Cola, is scheduled to open on Monday and will be the latest Southern museum to honor the region’s civil rights heritage. Birmingham, Ala., and Memphis are among the cities that host popular museums, and another is planned in Jackson, Miss.

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Multi-Cultural Manhattan School Teaches Youths the Value of Inclusiveness, Democracy, Justice & Freedom

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Ideal School of Manhattan administrators (l-r) Angela Bergeson, Head of School; David Byrnes, director of institutional equity, and Michelle Smith, school co-founder watch second-graders at work on a Civil Rights Museum project

A Civil Rights museum like no other is going to pop up in Manhattan later this week.  This one is meant to change the future.  Students at the Ideal School of Manhattan were busy constructing exhibits for the museum, a yearly event at the seven-year-old, independent K-to-eighth grade school.

Head of School Angela Bergeson said the museum started out as a yearly school assembly on civil rights, but became so popular that “we decided to devote the whole morning to the museum so that families could go room to room and see all the curriculum pieces, the writing, readings and plays.”

Each grade in the school is assigned an iconic figure from the Civil Rights or non-violence movements, along with an associated word around which the students create exhibits.

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