VOL. 132 | NO. 11 | Monday, January 16, 2017
Rhodes Grows Partnership With NCRM With $600K Grant
By Bill Dries
The National Civil Rights Museum will be the center of many observances on Monday, Jan. 16, the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)
Since its opening in 1991 on the site of King’s assassination in 1968, the museum has honored King on the anniversary of his birth with events that put an emphasis on community-building.
More of those outreach efforts will be made possible through a new $600,000, three-year grant to Rhodes College from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced last week.
The Mellon Foundation was already a major funder of Rhodes’ Memphis Center, which is a 4-year-old set of programs, institutes and initiatives centered on engaged learning rooted in Memphis culture and history.
It includes the collection of author Shelby Foote’s papers, an archaeological field school at Ames Plantation, the Mike Curb Institute for Music and CODA – the Center for Outreach in the Development of Arts.
The grant announced last week will be used to “develop shared courses and initiatives aimed toward racial justice, community building and the practice of democracy,” said Elizabeth Thomas, executive director of the Memphis Center, in a written statement.
That will include creating lecture series, performances, workshops and other events.
Rhodes students have worked as interns at the museum for more than 10 years.
And Rhodes faculty were among the historians who worked on the recent renovation of the museum, including an expansion of the museum’s subject matter and exhibits. The expansion takes in more than the movement of the 1960s and 1970s and does so in greater detail thanks to digital technology that was included in the $27 million renovation.
Rhodes faculty members Tim Huebner and Charles McKinney served specifically on the scholar review committee that developed the interpretive plans for exhibits in the expansion.
The Rhodes faculty is also talking with the museum about a partnership to teach courses on community issues.
NCRM president Terri Lee Freeman sees the partnership with Rhodes as about more than just history.
“It is important that we use the resources available in the museum to further civil society, recognizing what it has taken to get us to this point and what it will require for us to continue to build just communities,” she said in a written statement.