History students around the world will soon be able to go online to retrieve almost all of the information available on the Underground Railroad’s unique contribution to U.S. pre-Civil War era history thanks to a government grant and a cooperative venture between Eastern Michigan University and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
The Ypsilanti-based university and the world’s largest African American museum, along with the Quarlls Watkins Heritage Project, recently launched the Cooperative Underground Railroad Education Partnership, which over a three-year period, will create online materials and activities to help students learn about Africa and African American history in general and the Underground Railroad in particular. The project will also generate a state-of-the-art touch screen and multimedia gallery on Underground Railroad history, an academic game for high school competition based on that history and an online course for K through 12 teachers.
According to Juanita Moore, president and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum, it was appropriate for the museum to be an integral member of the partnership because Detroit was one of five major cities serving as “gateways to freedom” for tens of thousands of runaway slaves seeking refuge in nearby Canada. She also said this gives Detroit one of the richest and most compelling Underground Railroad histories.
The partnership will develop a website to serve the online portal which will provide digital copies of primary resources, catalog records to manuscript collections, and offer a virtual experience of the newly conceived Underground Railroad portion of the museum’s core exhibit, “And Still We Rise.” Elementary and secondary school lesson plans, expanded teaching modules, and links to historical locations will be made available over the three years of the portal’s development.
Go to www.CharlesHWrightMuseum.org for more information or call (313) 494-5800.