Archived Story

Two-story mural will tell story of 1847 slave raid

Published 2:18pm Thursday, December 3, 2009

By JOHN EBY
Leader Publications

The Minority Coalition of Cass County was awarded $15,000 for “Sanctuary and Deliverance in Cass County” by the Michigan Humanities Council.

A group of organizations will collaborate to create a two-story outdoor mural 75 feet wide, a descriptive pamphlet and a set of portable exhibit banners depicting the 1847 Kentucky raid.

Kentucky slave owners came to Michigan to retrieve their escaped slaves, with the resulting court case impacting the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law.

A mural will be created by high school students and a local artist to represent the resistance.

The mural will be painted on a brick building in downtown Cassopolis.

The pamphlet will tell the story of these people’s lives impacted by the raid and pose critical thinking questions.

Collaborating on this project are Southwest Michigan Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Cassopolis Public Schools, the Museum at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac, the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County, Chain Lake Missionary Baptist Church, Village of Vandalia and Michigan Freedom Trails Commission.

The Michigan Humanities Council awarded $95,552 in grants to support seven public humanities projects in Michigan, including two in southwest Michigan, two in west Michigan, two in metro Detroit and one in Lansing.

The grants emphasize collaboration among cultural, educational and community-based organizations and institutions to serve Michigan’s people with public humanities programming.

Organizations awarded grants stated their intent to generate an additional $212,420 in cost-share and other revenue in support of the projects.

“The Michigan Humanities Council is pleased to support community projects that involve significant collaboration, Janice Fedewa, executive director of the Michigan Humanities Council, said Monday. “The projects are consistent with our mission to promote the examination of culture and the understanding of sense of place.”

The other southwestern Michigan project was awarded to the Genevieve and Donald S. Gilmore Foundation and the Gilmore Car Museum, Kalamazoo.

That $15,000 will support The Checkers Motor Corp.: Making Its Last Stop, an effort to record the history, memory and archives of the Checker Cab Manufacturing Co.

The museum will collect and interpret relevant artifacts and share the history through a permanent exhibit, a traveling exhibit, a hardcover book and a DVD.

The permanent exhibit is expected to open in May 2010.

A Checker Day at the museum will be held in September 2010.

The release of other resources will be announced at that time.

Other awards in west Michigan were the Mason County Historical Society in Ludington and the White Lake Community Library; the Rackham Symphony Choir in Grosse Pointe and the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University in Detroit; and the Library of Michigan Foundation in mid-Michigan.

The seven projects funded were among 19 applications the council reviewed.

The total request of all applications was $233,237 in grant funds, with the potential to generate an additional $761,057 in cost-share support.

Michigan Humanities Council, founded in 1974, is a private, non-profit organization, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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