Rhodes Receives Prestigious Grant to Build and Manage Civil Rights Digital Resource

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Publication Date: 10/4/2006

Rhodes College has received a prestigious National Leadership grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for its Crossroads to Freedom project. IMLS is the primary source of federal funds for the nation’s museums and libraries. Of the 37 grants awarded, Rhodes was one of only two liberal arts colleges to receive funding. It has been designated $249,504 in the “Building Digital Resources” grant category.

As part of Crossroads to Freedom, Rhodes will digitize and make available on the Web portions of two newspapers and 1,200 photographs, letters, and other documents relating to the civil rights movement in Memphis and the Mid-South. Students will conduct oral history interviews of people involved in the movement and will develop an innovative means of searching and browsing the content in an online repository that will be freely accessible on the Web. A coalition of community and educational partners will identify sources of content, create curricula, help evaluate the project and host events that will foster conversations in the community about the impact of this era on Memphis today.

“Students play a critical role in all aspects of Crossroads and already have begun working on the project,” says Dr. Suzanne Bonefas, director of special projects at Rhodes. “They are deeply engaged in both the historical and social aspects of the civil rights movement in Memphis and how it has shaped our community today. Thanks to IMLS, Rhodes will continue to move forward with plans for the archive, including creating additional internships for the Rhodes students who are researching, creating and digitizing content for the archive.”