Lessons from the Baltimore ’68 Public History Project

Thursday, January 2, 2014: 2:20 PM
Thurgood Marshall Ballroom West (Marriott Wardman Park)
Jessica Elfenbein, University of South Carolina Columbia
This presentation will provide an overview of Baltimore ’68: Riots and Rebirth, the multifaceted project based at the University of Baltimore. Focused on the varied causes and effects of the civil unrest of April 1968 that affected Baltimore and scores of other American cities, the Baltimore ’68 project lasted four years and trained members of the university community, faculty and students, to locate and listen to the many voices of the city’s community that experienced and remembered the rebellion. This kind of history, different from popular booster narratives, can serve as a model for both public history projects and the ways in which public universities can take the lead in public history and other civic engagement projects. I will talk about what this meant for me as a historian and administrator as well as what it meant for my students, many of whom wrote their theses on the materials we archived. Finally I will talk about the creative use of university and community resources, including AmeriCorps participation and collaborative partnerships, as a way to think about how public universities can leverage resources for public history.
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