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.
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.