Day: August 4, 2015

People’s Parks: Tracing Radical Environmental Activism from Berkeley to Michigan

This image shows two students planting flowers at Michigan Tech's People's Park. Built by MTU students, the park was the result of a four-day strike which occured in connection with the Cambodian Invasion and subsequent slayings of students at Kent State and Jackson State. The park was built as a peaceful expression of Tech students' outrage over the above mentioned incidents.
This image shows two students planting flowers at Michigan Tech’s People’s Park. Built by MTU students, the park was the result of a four-day strike which occured in connection with the Cambodian Invasion and subsequent slayings of students at Kent State and Jackson State. The park was built as a peaceful expression of Tech students’ outrage over the above mentioned incidents.

Please join us for visiting scholar Kera Lovell at 4:00 pm on Thursday, August 13 in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Technological University campus. This event is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In this presentation, Lovell will present a portion of her dissertation which examines the devices and material construction of activism after World War II. In particular, Ms. Lovell will trace the history of the “People’s Park” movement. These coalitions of activists and students spread across the United States from Berkeley, California to Houghton, Michigan, and in places abroad, including South Africa. These spaces protested environmental and socioeconomic injustices. Ultimately, the protests took form through the creation of public parks in vacant lots, signifying a permanent occupancy that was visible to the public.

This talk will examine the visual and rhetorical strategies these activists used to equate their peaceful occupancies with territorial reclamation, and frame their creations as public memorials to colonized peoples. By examining some essential case studies of People’s Parks and situating Michigan Tech’s own People’s Park within this global movement, the talk will shed light on how activists saw space not as property, but as a symbolic representation of power.

Kera Lovell is a PhD candidate and Instructor in American Studies at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She received her Master’s degree in American Studies from Purdue in 2011, and her Bachelor’s in History and Spanish from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. She has received several awards from institutions to conduct and present her research, including Purdue University, Boston University, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and Michigan Tech. Her dissertation, titled “Radical Manifest Destiny: Urban Renewal, Colonialism, and Transnational American Identity in the Urban Spatial Politics of the Postwar Left” traces the global popularity of a particular post-World War II protest tactic in which activists permanently occupied vacant lots by converting them into politicized urban green spaces they called “People’s Parks.”

Lovell’s research visit and presentation are supported by a travel grant from the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1988, the Michigan Technological University Archives Travel Grant program has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives.

For more information, feel free to call the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, email at copper@mtu.edu, or visit on the web athttp://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.


Michigan Tech Archives Seeking Temporary Project Assistant

This photograph was taken at a barbershop in Calumet, Michigan by J.W. Nara (date unknown, but presumed early 1900s). It depicts three barbers standing ready and an African-American gentleman seated in the rear of the shop with a broom. The Michigan Tech Archives is currently seeking a project assistant to help us better understand  what collections we have that might shed light on his story and that of many others.
This photograph was taken at a barbershop in Calumet, Michigan by J.W. Nara (date unknown, but presumed early 1900s). It depicts three barbers standing ready and an African-American gentleman seated with a broom. The Michigan Tech Archives is currently seeking a project assistant to help us better understand what collections we have that might shed light on his story and that of many others.

 
The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is currently seeking applicants for a temporary Project Assistant position to begin in September 2015. This position is part of a grant-funded research project called “Black Voices in the Copper Country: Exploring Community and Michigan Tech Campus Life, 1870-Present.” The Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, and the Michigan Historical Center are partners on this project. This project is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Project Assistant is responsible for researching archival collections, including manuscripts, census records, newspapers, photographs, and other materials to help document resources pertaining to African-Americans in the Copper Country. Secondary responsibilities include assisting with research planning, presenting in public forums, assisting with outreach, writing blog updates, and developing a historical narrative for a future online exhibit. Preference will be given to applicants with some college history coursework and demonstrated research experience.

Characteristic Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Efficiently and effectively provides in-depth historical research using a broad range of primary and secondary sources.
  2. Assists with simple archival organization and descriptive work such as arranging historical papers in chronological order, re-foldering materials for preservation when necessary, creating indexes, drafting research guides, and shelving.
  3. Assists with planning and executing public programs and outreach to present findings.
  4. Performs other assigned duties as appropriate for a project assistant.

This is a 20 hour per week, temporary part-time position. This position will report to the Senior Archivist. The preferred start date is Monday, September 14 and the project ends in May 2016. There are no benefits included with this position. The Project Assistant will be compensated with an hourly wage of $10.00 per hour. To learn more about us, please visit our website: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/

E-mail applications are preferred and are due by August 21. Submit your cover letter and resume to:

Lindsay Hiltunen, Senior Archivist
Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
Attn: Project Assistant Position
Van Pelt and Opie Library
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
copper@mtu.edu
(906) 487-2505

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

MHC Publicity