Crossroads to Freedom Recognized as Valuable Resource


Publication Date: 2/10/2009

Rhodes’ Crossroads to Freedom now contains over 7,500 photographs, letters, newspaper articles, interviews and documents relating to the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis and the Mid-South, thanks to student teams who have been working on the project since 2006 when Rhodes received a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Currently the project is profiled on the IMLS Web site about digital libraries that are creating models for  enhancing Americans’ understanding of the civil rights era. “So far, 40 students at Rhodes College have worked on this project, usually in paid positions or internships that help fulfill the college’s ‘beyond the gates’ requirement, says Dr. Suzanne Bonefas, Director of Special Projects. “In the summer, the project is staffed by a large team of students from Rhodes and Fisk University. Local high school students are also team members and are mentored by the college students.”

Students have been responsible for identifying individuals to interview, conducting the video interviews, sending the tape for transcription, editing the transcript, and cataloging it. The students also have developed a workflow for processing materials and quality control systems, with the goal of having students do the bulk of the project management.

Bonefas says in the IMLS feature, “We are working with museum, city, and school partners to develop ways to work together to preserve our cultural heritage and encourage conversations in the community.”

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