About

Mission

Our mission is to develop a powerful multimedia interactive website to teach the lessons of African American struggles for empowerment in the nation’s major urban centers in the North, focusing on the era of the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. “The North: Civil Rights and Beyond in Urban America” is a new educational tool for all people, but primarily for students and teachers in grade school through college, to promote research and to preserve the record of those people who were “foot soldiers” in the Civil Rights, Black Power, and other Movements in the northern United States. It is a means by which to teach social justice issues through history of the African American struggle for power, and keep these stories alive for generations to come.
Vision

We envision The North as a multimedia, interdisciplinary, and interactive website that:

  • Collects the stories of resistance in urban centers, primarily in the North, remembering that the storytellers grow older each day; and the time is now if we want to hear their narratives.
  • Serves as a repository for the accumulation of written, oral, and visual evidence that reveals the goals, objectives, strategies and tactics of the many phases of the struggle for freedom waged by black people and their supporters in the urban North, primarily in the 1960s and 70s.
  • Shows the influence of Civil Rights Movement on such later Movements as Black Power, the Women’s Rights Movement, the organizing efforts to elect the first wave of black mayors and other black politicians in the 1970s, and the subsequent election of President Barack Obama.
  • Provides a vehicle to introduce the leaders, but also the stories as told by the “foot soldiers” of Black Freedom Struggles in the urban North.
  • Helps researchers and students of history to develop a critical theory of race, class, and gender as it played out in the challenges, successes, and failures of urban black politics based on the stories and analysis of northern and urban movements for black empowerment in the period stretching from the 1950s to the present, but with particular emphasis on the 1960s and 70s.
  • Serves as a resource for the teaching of black political history at the college and grade school level, in collaboration with the faculty of Detroit-area colleges and the Detroit Public Schools.
  • Serves as a resource for a new generation of activists and advocates engaged on the front line of struggle, such as Black Lives Matter.
Sometime ago, those of us who entered political movements for change walked on our first picket line or marched in our first demonstration. At some point we got hooked on concepts like “Freedom”, “Direct Action” and “Resistance” to get rid of Jim Crow racism. Eventually we came to learn how to spend time in jail, survive police and vigilante  violence; to organize poor and working class black people; to extract perks and building blocks from federal programs and build coalitions among unpredictable community groups; to fight city hall; to negotiate agreements that produced opportunities and skill development for community development; and to manage campaigns to elect black politicians.

But then one day we looked around and realized that many of our friends (and enemies) who made that journey, or similar journeys, were no longer with us….to laugh with, relive old conquests, or just tell lies. Too many have moved to places unknown, gotten sick, or passed on to the next life.

So many of our collective stories go untold.

These stories must be told, and hence the evolution of this project entitled, The North: Civil Rights and Beyond in Urban America.

These stories must be told - Junius Williams

Sometime ago, those of us who entered political movements for change walked on our first picket line or marched in our first demonstration. At some point we got hooked on concepts like “Freedom”, “Direct Action” and “Resistance” to get rid of Jim Crow racism. Eventually we came to learn how to spend time in jail, survive police and vigilante violence; to organize poor and working class black people; to extract perks and building blocks from federal programs and build coalitions among unpredictable community groups; to fight city hall; to negotiate agreements that produced opportunities and skill development for community development; and to manage campaigns to elect black politicians.

But then one day we looked around and realized that many of our friends (and enemies) who made that journey, or similar journeys, were no longer with us….to laugh with, relive old conquests, or just tell lies. Too many have moved to places unknown, gotten sick, or passed on to the next life.

So many of our collective stories go untold.

These stories must be told, and hence the evolution of this project entitled, The North: Civil Rights and Beyond in Urban America.

Dedication

This installment of Rise Up North is dedicated to the lives and legacies of General Baker, James and Grace Lee Boggs, Lila Cabbil, Albert Cleage, Ken Cockrel, Sr., Rosa Parks, and Ron Scott.
  • The Detroit chapter of The North is presented in partnership with:

    • Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science
    • Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark
      The Turrell Fund
    • Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs
    • Washington University of St. Louis Libraries
    • Wayne State University Department of African American Studies
    • The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, Wayne State University Law School
    • The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
    • The General Baker Institute
    • The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership
  • The Center for Education and Juvenile Justice, Inc. (CEJJ, Inc.) was incorporated in 2011 as a community-based institution to help troubled youth gain knowledge and positive outcomes through education and advocacy by caring adults. CEJJ endeavors to provide a means to teach young people (grade school through college) who they are through analysis of history and social studies. It is our vision that young people will learn to navigate peacefully and successfully through the obstacles that impede them in major urban centers, Through this website, with its collection of information and critical analysis, initially of Newark; and with its partnership with Rutgers Newark, and the Newark Public Schools, new methodologies of teaching and learning will evolve to facilitate fully actualized persons and productive citizens at home and abroad.

    • Gina Nisbeth, Board Chair and Director Citi Community Capital
    • Ryan Haygood, Esq. CEO and President, NJ Institute of Social Justice
    • Wilma Grey, Former Exec. Director, Newark Public Library
    • Robert Picket, Attorney 
    • Dan Aldridge, former member of the All African People’s Union
    • Dorothy Dewberry Aldridge, former member of the Detroit Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
    • Melba Joyce Boyd, Distinguished Professor in African American Studies at Wayne State University
    • Jon Cawthorne, Dean of the Wayne State University Library System and the School of Information Sciences
    • Markeysha Davis, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Literature at the University of Hartford
    • Rich Feldman, Board Member of the James & Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership
    • David Goldberg, Associate Professor in African American Studies at Wayne State University
    • Elliott Hall, Attorney and former corporation counsel for the City of Detroit
    • Peter Hammer, Director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University
    • Ollie Johnson, Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of African American Studies at Wayne State University
    • Frank Joyce, former member of the Northern Student Movement and People Against Racism
    • Marian Kramer, former member of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers
    • Helen Moore, former member of Black Parents for Quality Education
    • William Strickland, Associate Professor (Retired), University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    • Joann Watson, former Detroit City Council President and NAACP Executive Director
    • Junius Williams, Esq.
      • Producer
    • Peter Blackmer, PhD
      • Lead Researcher
    • Matthew Birkhold, PhD
      • Researcher and content writer
    • Dorian Tyus, Esq.
      • Researcher
    • Kristen Chinery
      • Reference Archivist, Walter P. Reuther Library
    • Meghan Courtney
      • Outreach Archivist, Walter P. Reuther Library
    • Alison M. Greenlee
      • Special Collections Metadata Librarian, Wayne State University Library System
    • Louis Jones, PhD
      • Field Archivist, Walter P. Reuther Library
    • Deborah Rice
      • Interim Assistant Director, Walter P. Reuther Library
    • Mary Wallace
      • Interim Director, Walter P. Reuther Library
    • Don Wellman
      • Video Production, 248 Pencils
    • Mosaic Strategies Group
      • CTO, Web Design and Development
  • Research for Rise Up Detroit draws extensively from archival collections of documents, photographs, videos, and artifacts from institutions including: the Walter P. Reuther Library Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University, Washington University of St. Louis, the Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library.

    List of Collections (Partial):

    • Charles Cheng Papers (Reuther Library)
    • Detroit 67 Oral History Collection (Detroit Historical Museum)
    • Detroit Commission on Community Relations (DDCR) Human Rights Department Records (Reuther Library)
    • Detroit Revolutionary Movement Records (Reuther Library)
    • Edward Vaughn Papers
    • Ernest Smith Papers (Reuther Library)
    • Helen Bowers Papers (Reuther Library)
    • Henry Hampton Collection (WUSTL)
    • James and Grace Lee Boggs Papers (Reuther Library)
    • Kenneth V. and Sheila M. Cockrel Papers (Reuther Library)
    • NAACP Detroit Branch Records (Reuther Library)
    • Personal Files of Dan Aldridge and Dorothy Dewberry Aldridge
    • Personal Files of David Goldberg
    • Robert “Buddy” Battle III and Marion Battle Papers (Reuther Library)
    • The Black Power Movement Microfilm Series
    • The League of Revolutionary Black Workers Media Project
    • Wayne State University Archives